MAITLAND — The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey admitted 765 birds to the Raptor Clinic in 2021, rehabilitating and releasing 223 back into the wild, including 29 Bald Eagles.
Red-shouldered Hawks made up the largest number of birds admitted in 2021, with 308 that came through the Center doors, followed by Barred Owl (112), Bald Eagles (83), and Osprey (58). Some of Florida’s most iconic species were treated here in 2021, including a Burrowing Owl, a Snail Kite, and a Mississippi Kite. These patients reach the Clinic doors from concerned citizens (the public), animal control, wildlife officers, and other rehabilitators.
Though 40% of the injuries are unknown, top injuries for 2021 include: falls from nests, vehicle strikes, and electrocution; most injuries treated are due to human-wildlife interactions.
Additionally, Center staff and volunteers renested 14 young, uninjured baby raptors with the help of an expert tree climber, including: Eastern Screech-Owls, Red-shouldered Hawks, Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls, and a Bald Eagle.
“Thanks to our dedicated staff, volunteers, and concerned citizens across the state, we were able to release hundreds of raptors back into the wild. The Center for Birds of Prey hosts dozens of these incredible species as permanent residents, giving visitors a chance to learn about the birds that call the Sunshine State home,” says Katie Warner, Center Director.
One of the most memorable patients of 2021 was a Snail Kite that collided with an air boat. She recovered, but could not be released back into the wild. She is now a permanent bird ambassador at the Center for Birds of Prey!
Once a patient arrives at the Raptor Trauma Clinic, staff examine the bird and determine appropriate medical care, nutritional support, and husbandry. The Center’s patient load is seasonal, with the spring being the busiest time for bird care.
When a patient responds well to medical treatment, it is moved to the Center’s rehabilitation areas to continue recovery. The Center for Birds of Prey rehabilitation area includes 17 outdoor enclosures, or mews, of various sizes including a 100’ flight barn used for Bald Eagles to regain strength and stamina and prepare for release back into the wild.
Patients ready for release are returned to the site where they were originally found. The Center has released thousands of raptors back into the wild since its doors opened in 1979, including more than 670 rehabilitated Bald Eagles.
The center is open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. offering educational opportunities for all ages. More than 40 permanent raptor residents are available for viewing. Tickets for designated time slots can be purchased online. To purchase admission, click here.