*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view.
On the southeast edge of Eugene, Oregon, nestled among tall trees, sits the Cascades Raptor Center (CRC). Visitors to the center pull into a gravel parking lot and are greeted with the haunting calls of eagles, hawks, osprey and falcons.
Kip and I visited the center on May 6th and expected to only spend about an hour there. Instead, we found ourselves completely engrossed in what this amazing center has to offer…and nearly four hours later, we were still there!
The center is a 501c3 non-profit nature center and wildlife hospital founded in 1987. Public education activities are provided both on and off-premises and the center is open to members and the general public six days a week, as well as by appointment or for field trips and group tours on other days or at other times.
One of the primary goals of CRC is to rehabilitate, and release back to the wild, sick and injured birds (primarily raptors) which include owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, osprey, corvids, kites, and vultures. Up to 200 orphaned sick, and injured raptors are treated there each year. Nearly 1300 birds have been returned to the wild in the last seventeen years.
CRC also has resident birds whose disabilities make it impossible for them to survive in the wild. It is these birds who visitors to the center may observe in the large outside enclosures. The resident birds are used for education. Some have lost vision, or have wings which were fractured and did not heal well. Others suffered head injuries or are developmentally delayed. Learn more about the center by visiting this page on their site.
While we were at the center, there was an educational presentation by two volunteers. A great horned owl was one of the birds on display during this presentation (the bird in the photo on the top left of this post). I was surprised to learn that horned owls love to prey on skunks. I think we could use a few of these fellows on our property where the skunk population is rather large!
Danu, an osprey with developmental delays, was also on display at the presentation. She is a beautiful bird who ended up in captivity after her father was killed and her mother was unable to care adequately for her brother and her. Despite efforts to rehabilitate her and return her to the wild, Danu’s delays and slow growth have prevented her from being freed.
If you happen to be passing through the Eugene area, I hope you’ll take the time to visit the Cascades Raptor Center – it is truly a wonderful place. I feel honored to have spent time with some of these majestic birds.
Here are more photos from our visit there: