Raptor Care at Eagle Bluff
Eagle Bluff is responsible for the care of four birds of prey. All have permanent injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild and on their own. Nevertheless, they are still wild animals, and as such, we never treat them like pets. Some birds have lived here for over ten years, and others have only recently arrived. Still, they all have the important job of educating Eagle Bluff’s visitors about conservation.
Meet Our Birds
The Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk was Eagle Bluff’s first education bird. She was hatched in the spring on 2000. During her first year, the hawk was hit by a car near Chicago, Illinois. Because the tip of her wing was too damaged, they amputated it, making full flight impossible. The Red-tailed Hawk arrived at Eagle Bluff in March 2001.
Number of People Educated at EB: 72,340
Fun Fact: We know her exact age because during a Red-tailed Hawk’s first year, their feathers are a different color.
Favorite food: Rodent heads
The American Kestrel
The American Kestrel is Eagle Bluff's newest raptor. She arrived from Portland, Oregon in June 2013. During her first year (summer 2012), she was either hit by something or ran into something, injuring her left wing. Because she has never been in programs before, her training is a slow process!
Number of People Educated at EB: 20
Fun Fact: Only about 20% of kestrels survive their first year.
Favorite food: Mice
The Barred Owl
Eagle Bluff’s resident Barred Owl was hit by a car in December 2001 near Chicago, Illinois. The impact broke her right wing in several places. She also suffered head trauma, leaving her mostly blind in her left eye. She arrived at Eagle Bluff in January 2003.
Number of People Educated at EB: 75,073
Fun Fact: Our Barred Owl has a metal pin in her right wing that helped her heal from her injuries.
Favorite food: Small Rat
The Turkey Vulture
Eagle Bluff’s Turkey Vulture hatched in the spring of 2003. He was found by a person who thought he was abandoned, so they brought the vulture home with them to care for him. Unfortunately, this caused the vulture to imprint on humans meaning he prefers the company of humans more than his own species. He joined our raptor team in August 2011.
Number of People Educated at EB: 4,272
Fun Fact: The Turkey Vulture loves pulling food out of dog toys, such as kongs or tennis balls.
Favorite food: Rat tails
Frequently Asked Questions
What do the birds eat?
Because the birds are all carnivores, we feed them a diet that consists of different meats. The five main foods that our birds eat are mice, small rats, large rats, quail, and day-old chicks. Occasionally, they are also given rabbit and squirrel. We order our food from different vendors, and it arrives already dead and frozen. Eagle Bluff staff are trained on how to prepare the food. Our five birds eat a total of 1,300 rodents and birds each year. Imagine how much food all of the wild raptors eat in one year!
Where do the birds live?
Eagle Bluff’s birds live in enclosures called mews. Each bird’s mew is designed to offer enough space for that bird to be able to fly around and look outside. Each mew also has a place the birds can go to avoid the rain, wind, and snow. The birds all have different types of perches to visit and explore. Because the birds spend most of their time in their mews, Eagle Bluff staff makes sure that everything stays in good condition. Safe perches help keep the birds healthy!
Do the birds get "bored"?
Because the birds spend much of their time in their mews, they can get bored if their handlers don’t provide enough for them to do all day long. That’s why the staff prepare enrichment plans for the birds each week. Enrichment might be training with a handler, going on a walk outside, a new food in their diet, or placing food into items such as dog toys or egg cartons. Without enrichment, birds can be quite destructive, both to their environments and themselves but by providing enrichment, their minds stay sharp and their bodies active.
A great way to show your support for raptors is to get involved. This might mean volunteering your time, going birding in your neighborhood, or by recycling. One way you can help Eagle Bluff’s raptors is by symbolically adopting one or more of our birds. By adopting a raptor, you will help pay for their food, vet care, and enrichment (toys) to help keep their minds sharp. They require tons of care and attention, and you can help to make sure they receive it!
For each adoption you will receive:
- An 8x10 photo of your bird
- A certificate of adoption
American Kestrel Adoption Package - $20
Red-tailed Hawk Adoption Package - $40
Turkey Vulture Adoption Package - $50