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Lifelong Learning: Meet The Raptors!

Oct 23, 2017 | Life at Ávila

Our Lifelong Learning series continues. This time we got to meet the raptors – up close and personal – with Nancy Kimball. Nancy is a wildlife rehabilitator with over 16 years of experience.

Wildlife rehabilitators aid in the care and recuperation of injured or sick wild animals. They are volunteers requiring licensing. In Nancy’s case, she has licenses from both the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and US Fish and Wildlife.

We wondered what a day in the life of a wildlife rehabilitator is like. Nancy told us that she currently starts her day feeding three baby squirrels formula. Then she checks on her raptors and feeds them. In case you’re wondering, they eat mice.

Raptors are birds of prey and include eagles, falcons and owls. Nancy has a total of seven raptors including the three she brought with her to Avila. The day she visited us she brought a Barred Owl, Kestrel and an Eastern Screech Owl.

Barred Owl - Avila

Nancy holding a Barred Owl. They are huge! (photo courtesy of Max Tiller)

Some interesting owl facts – they have exceptional hearing and eyesight. Their unique anatomy, along with the number of bones in their neck, allow them to turn their heads 270 degrees.


Eastern Screech Owl - Avila

An Eastern Screech Owl (photo courtesy of Max Tiller)

All of these birds are native to the area. Some can even be found nearby in the Pine Bush. Nancy’s raptors experienced wing injuries. The most common injury is caused by birds flying into cars. The ultimate goal is to nurse the birds back to health so that they can be released back to the wild. Birds that are unable to be released can be eligible for educational use.

Nancy said it’s very important to bring the birds to the public so we can understand their importance in our environment and that they have certain characteristics and traits that we, as humans, can relate to. For example, Kestrels are social birds. They like people and company and are curious. If you’re out hiking, don’t be surprised if a Kestrel flies near you.

Kestrel at Avila

A Kestrel (photo courtesy of Max Tiller)

We asked what we should do if we find an injured wild animal. These are wild animals and it’s important to treat them as such AND to call a professional organization like North Country Wildcare (518-964-6742) that has experience with caring for these animals. Nancy is a member of North Country Wild Care, a non-profit network of wildlife rehabilitators.

Thanks Nancy for letting us Meet the Raptors!

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