Chris, Mom and I took a little field trip Thursday to visit the Wildlife Center of Virginia. WCV is a hospital for native wildlife. They serve about 2500 "patients" each year and they are all wild animals, not your domesticated dogs, cats and horses. I learned about them through watching the Norfolk Botanical Gardens eagle cam last year. They aren't opent to the public but once a year they have scheduled open house events so that the public can see the facility and the type of work that they do.
Box turtle with a fractured shell.
The tour schedules fill up almost as soon as they post them but I happened ot be reading their blog when they posted the summer schedule and I was able to score 3 spots on Thursday's tour. We mostly got to see the facility and we were not able to see any of the patients but they do have a number of resident birds that are unreleasable so they keep them for educational purposes. It was a interesting tour and it was a treat to see some of the birds that I have never seen up close. They were all in pens (they have VERY nice accommodations) so I did the best that I could with the camera.
Barred Owl - this guy is about 18 years old and could not be released because he imprinted on a human.
American Kestral (I don't remember his name or why he is here)
Peregrine Falcon (This one has some sort of foot disease that is recurring. You can see bandages on his feet.)
Same Peregrine Falcon.
Junior the Golden Eagle is about 20 years old. He was found at a young age near San Francisco. He had been trained by a falconer so could not be released. This bird is HUGE! He's at least 3 feet tall and beautiful.
Buddy the Bald Eagle is the most famous resident. He was brought here from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens nest a few years ago. Someone watching the eagle cam noticed something wrong with is beak. He has avian pox which causes his beak to grow lopsided so it has to be trimmed once a month. Next year he will be in full adult plumage.
I can't help it, I have a soft spot for vultures. This is Buttercup the Black Vulture. We got to watch him eat his daily rat and he barked at me while I was taking this photo. He actually sounded like a dog!
It was a fun and educational day and I successfully avoided making eye contact with any of the slithery patients.