What does a rehabilitator do?
Our trained volunteers are the emergency team on intake: stopping any bleeding, treating for shock, doing physical examinations, immobilizing fractures, starting an antibiotic regime, as necessary.
We are laboratory technicians: drawing and analyzing blood for anemia, parasites, signs of disease, or starvation; analyzing fecal samples for parasites, bacteria, blood; radiographing for fractures or other problems. Our generous veterinarians donate their services for surgery and general supervision.
Cascades Raptor Center volunteers are the nurses: changing bandages, cleaning wounds, giving shots or other medications. We are the dieticians: calculating the calories necessary for growth and healing, presenting the food in a way best assimilated or most conducive to self-feeding, making sure our patients are eating. (We're also the farmers: raising the mice we feed the birds! And the custodians - cleaning and cleaning and cleaning!) We are the physical therapists, providing passive or active range of motion exercises for stiff joints or weakened muscles after a broken bone has healed. Throughout and overall, we are the naturalists, utilizing knowledge of species identification, normal habitat, diet, and behavior, as well as nesting, migrating, and foraging habits.
And, finally, we have the difficult decisions to make: can we release a bird? Is its recovery complete enough to ensure a successful return to the wild - able to fly, catch food, find and defend a territory, attract a mate, reproduce, and migrate, as appropriate to its species? This work is done under permits from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and US Fish & Wildlife Service, including those required for working with eagles, and threatened and endangered species. The Cascades Raptor Center has two licensed rehabilitators, with combined experience of over 45 years in the field; we have 7 consulting veterinarians including board-certified avian, surgery, and ophthalmology specialists.
When a raptor is ready, their release is a beautiful moment to behold!
Last year, during our 25th anniversary and annual benefit dinner at King Estate Winery, two Northern Harriers were released. The birds originally came to us as orphaned nestlings.
Slow motion video by Tim Fox, Country 93 radio.