Dr. Eric Forsman of the US Forest Service has been studying spotted owls for 35 years. Here he is in August 2004 with a Spotted Owl about to be released after rehabilitation at the Cascades Raptor Center. This owl was brought from the High Desert Museum especially because of our large flight cage, which was funded by a grant from the
Injured, sick, or orphaned birds are brought to us by members of the public, police officers or other government staff, or referred by other wildlife rehabilitators. We have a responsibility, both to the birds and the people who bring them in, to provide the best care possible - everyone associated with CRC takes seriously this important responsibility. As a result of the trust we have established we see and treat between 150 and 200 sick, injured and orphaned birds each year.
Why do these birds need our help?
The vast majority have been the losers in some confrontation with humans or our way of life: these birds are in collisions with vehicles; hit windows or come down chimneys; hit power lines; tangle in fishing line, or barbed wire, electric, or other fencing; are poisoned by rodenticides or pesticides; are shot; are caught in leg hold traps; babies have their nest sites destroyed through construction, landscaping, or logging; for lack of natural habitat, their parents have chosen dangerous nest sites; or young birds are simply picked up when they shouldn't be.
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.
CRC 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 and rats 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. CRC has three licensed rehabilitators, with combined experience of over 40 years in the field; our volunteer staff veterinarian has over 15 years in wildlife rehabilitation and medicine, particularly with raptors.