How can I recognize a bird of prey?
Birds of prey are typically recognized by their sharp curved beaks and talons. There are over 20 different species of birds of prey indigenous to the Greater Cincinnati area. Birds of prey include owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, osprey, harriers, kites and vultures.
What do you do when you find an injured raptor?
Raptors face many environmental hazards including collisions with vehicles and windows, entanglement in fishing line, kite and balloon strings, and barbed wire, and injuries from predators. They are also vulnerable to infections, starvation, and poisoning from pesticides.
An injured or ill raptor is a wild animal and will likely react aggressively out of fear, pain or defense when approached by people. Handling of these animals can aggravate the illness or injury and can also kill the animal just from the stress of being captured.
Our goals are to safely contain the animal, place it in a stress-free environment, and get it to the licensed raptor rehabilitators at RAPTOR Inc. as soon as possible.
- Call RAPTOR Inc.’s Dispatch Line – Call (513) 825-3325. The dispatcher can give you detailed instructions about how to proceed.
- Prepare a box – Place newspapers and an absorbent material, such as a towel, in the bottom of a box that can be securely closed. Pet carriers or cages are not desirable options because of the damage they can cause to the bird’s feathers.
- Carefully contain the bird. Safety First – Use thick gloves, such as welders gloves, to protect yourself from the bird’s talons and beak. A thick towel can also be useful for some species. These birds can be dangerous. It’s best to call for advice before proceeding in an unsafe manner.
- Secure the raptor in the box – close the lid securely, cover the box with a towel, and place the box in a warm, quiet area.
- If you are located far away from our rehabilitation facility – you may be asked to help transport the raptor to the facility.
- Do not offer food or water – this can kill an injured or ill bird.
- Resist the temptation to look at the bird or to take pictures – stress can be deadly. Consider what is best for the injured raptor.
RAPTOR Inc. admits injured and ill birds of prey from Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. We rely on caring volunteers and rescuers to help transport birds in need to our Milford, Ohio facility. For raptors located in Southeastern Indiana, call Red Wolf Sanctuary at 812-438-2306.
What do I do if I find an injured animal that is not a raptor, or I’m located outside of RAPTOR Inc.’s coverage area?
Over 250 raptors are admitted to RAPTOR Inc. annually. Important information is recorded on the raptor’s medical record, including where the bird was found, when it was found, the nature of the illness or injury, and the finder’s contact information. This information makes it possible to contact the finder with progress reports on the bird’s condition, to invite the finder to attend the bird’s release, and to return the bird to its familiar territory (if appropriate). Information regarding the bird and its disposition is also reported to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in compliance with our state and federal permits.
Rehabilitation is provided by licensed rehabilitators who receive extensive training under the guidance of Avian and Exotic Veterinarians. Upon admission a complete physical exam is performed and appropriate treatments are initiated. These treatments may include fluid replacement, medications, stabilization of fractures, wound care, and meeting the bird’s nutritional needs. Once the bird is stabilized, veterinary assistance is arranged according to the illness or injury, and appropriate x-rays and lab tests are performed. Depending on the condition, rehabilitation can take hours or it can take months.
In any case, wildlife rehabilitation should only be performed by licensed rehabilitators. These animals can be dangerous and they require very specialized care to survive. It is illegal to possess a bird of prey without the proper state and federal permits – in fact, it is illegal to even possess one of their feathers. Anyone violating these laws can face severe penalties. If you find an ill or injured bird of prey contact us as soon as possible.
Releases are a time to celebrate! It’s the perfect ending to our rehabilitation efforts with the return of the raptor back to the wild! We strive to involve the finders in the release whenever possible.