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Rehab & Release 2021
We took in 111 raptors this year, representing 22 species!  

Northern Goshawk

Our year ended with several admits - this Northern Goshawk was one of them. Hitting a window had left it with a severe head trauma and bleeding out of the nose. It came out of the initial effects of the collision not appearing to have broken anything. Initially, it could soon stand, but not eat on its own. After days of handfeeding and quiet rest, it starting eating on its own for which we gave a collective sigh of relief. It was a week or so longer before it started to fly. To encourage flying and rebuild strength, it was moved to a chamber big enough to practice in. The improvement was fun to watch - before long it had strong flight end to end and could change direction mid-way. Northern Goshawks have amazing agility and are impressive to watch. One fine day in January, volunteers took it back to the neighborhood it came from. It had a good flight on release and hung out for a minute to allow for some pictures. Thank you concerned citizens for helping this goshawk!

Sharp-shinned Hawks

We have had 11 Sharp-shinned Hawks so far this year. They are very active flying around the chambers when they are in rehab, so we have been releasing them as soon as they are ready. Ranging from young nestlings who have fallen out of the nest to adults who have had encounters with vehicles, this has been an unprecedented year for Sharp-shinned Hawks! Those that have grown up together here at the center have been released together whenever possible. Thanks to everyone who helped these small whirlwinds!

You can see the release of 3 of our admits here!


May 12, 2021, a male osprey was admitted to the center with a fractured right wing. During a vet visit to Glacier Animal Hospital, Dr. Mark Lawson and Beth Watne found 2 small lead fragments in the wing indicating it was possibly a gunshot victim. The damage looked mendable so the wing was cleaned and wrapped. After a couple weeks of rest and plenty of fish - the wrap came off and he was moved to a flight chamber to see if it could fly again. Almost immediately, it was practicing and in a week and a half it was flying strong enough to release it. Being nesting season, we wanted to get it back where is came from as quickly as possible because it more than likely had a mate and nest waiting for it. We hope it was a happy reunion and the chicks have a better chance at survival. Thanks to all who helped this osprey!

Great Gray Owl

March 22, 2021 a Great Gray Owl was admitted to the center with a swollen right wing and a head injury that was causing some eye problems. The x-ray showed a break - it was already mended to a point we could not do anything else for it. We hoped that as the wing finished mending it would be able to fly well enough to be released. After a couple weeks of down time, the eye looked normal and the wing was ready to test for flight worthiness. A couple days after being in the flight chamber, it was flying strong. Every time it would land on a perch at the opposite end, it would hoot as if to say "see - I am doing it!" It was great fun to work with at this point.

On April 22, 2021, it was ready to go home - it was flying strong, had good vision and gained a pound. Our volunteers  transported the owl and met the FWP biologist that had found it to release it where it had been found. Thanks everyone who helped this owl!

Northern Saw-whet Owl

As humans, we use a variety of methods to get rid of things we deem pests - one of those methods is sticky boards to catch things like rodents and spiders. As it turns out the "sticky" stuff can catch and trap things not intended to be caught. In this case, a Northern Saw-whet Owl was trying to catch a mouse that had already been stuck on the the sticky board. The owl also became stuck and if somebody hadn't noticed him he would have died. In addition, if he had managed to get free he would have been unable to fly. The glue was very hard to get off of the feathers and traumatic for the owl. Fortunately, it didn't sustain any permanent injury and after some time in rehab it was able to be released. We ask that people consider not using sticky boards because they are random in what they catch and often harm creatures that are trying to eat what the sticky board is trying to catch. Thank you to the observant individual who saved this owl!

Bald Eagle

Note - one picture shows an open chest wound, skip if that might bother you or is not something you want to see.

On January 1, 2021, we admitted an immature bald eagle with a laceration on its chest - how this happened is a mystery and we really wish the bird could tell the story. The laceration was stapled shut and no other apparent injuries were found. After a couple weeks of low activity to allow the chest to mend, it was put in the flight barn to rebuild the muscle strength. It had the company of some others to practice with which seems to be a positive thing.

On March 18, 2021, it was released back to northern end of Whitefish Lake where it had been found - being sunny and warm, the day was perfect for a release - the eagle was grateful to go. Thanks to all involved in getting it to us so it could mend and go home!

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