top of page

Rehab & Release 2022
We took in 98 raptors this year representing 17 species!

Great Horned Owl

Late October we admitted a large Great Horned Owl that had been found along the road. it had a head injury and was quite wonky for a few days. Assist feeding was required, and it had trouble standing up. Finally after about a week eating on its own and testing its balance on perches were welcome improvements. By the end of another week, it was easily flying end to end in the 40 ft. flight chamber, followed the next week by adding stealthy quarter laps turning in midair and returning to the perch - progress was great fun to observe. It gained almost a pound during its short stay, weighing almost 4 pounds when it was released. It was antsy to go, so we obliged last week releasing her so she can get on with life. Thank you concerned citizens and MWWRC volunteers for helping this owl. A truly determined beautiful bird!

Cooper's Hawks

Over the summer we admitted 2 Cooper’s Hawk chicks. One was orphaned after a hailstorm that left the mother deceased and the chick on the ground. The other was found by some loggers with good hearts who observed it and never saw a parent taking care of it. The two were about the same age (we estimate born within a week or two of each other) and got along like siblings. As they matured and their feathers grew in – their chamber looked like a continual pillow fight was happening with down all over the place. They learned to feed on their own, and they finally progressed to the flight chamber which they mastered in short order. With maturity and flight skills honed, they were ready to release. Since they had been together for their unusual upbringing, they were released together. They left together in such a hurry, we didn’t get any pictures – those Cooper’s Hawks are darn speedy! Thank you concerned citizens and caring loggers for helping these two youngsters get on with living!

Sharp-shinned Hawk

In April 2022, a concerned citizen in the Polson area noticed a Sharp-shinned Hawk on their deck after it hit a window. After observing for a bit and not seeing it recovering, they contacted CSKT FWP and they brought it to us. Upon inspection, there were no apparent broken bones, but it had dried blood in its nose indicating a head trauma. It was disoriented & not standing well. It was cleaned up, given some hydration, and left with some food in a quiet chamber. By the next day, the balance was improving and it was starting to  enjoy eating again. By day 3, it was too active for the space it was in and moved to a larger chambe By the end of the week arrangements were made to return it to its home area. Howard from CSKT FWP and another warden met us for the release. We try to release where there are trees to land in if the bird needs a minute to regroup before taking off, but this one took off and flew until we could no longer see it. Such a fun release to see the joy in being free again! Thank you concerned citizens and CSKT FWP for helping this Sharp-shinned Hawk get another chance!

You can see the video of the release here!

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Mid-April 2022, a gentleman reported a bald eagle that had been hit by a car near Troy, MT. The left eye was very swollen, the head and mouth were bruised with swelling, and it was suffering from head trauma. The eye was treated, and small amounts of food were offered. It wasn’t eating on its own and had obvious balance issues. Within a week, the eye was showing signs of improvement and the appetite had returned though it was still not eating on its own. As the days passed, balance returned enough for it to be comfortable getting up onto and off a perch. Once the eye cleared more and the vision had improved, this one proved to be a feisty, strong-willed individual who had quick accurate foot maneuvers that demanded respect – we were very excited to see the improvement. As the the vision and balance improved along with eating well on its own, the next step was the flight chamber to regain lost strength. Upon releasing it in the flight barn, it flew immediately to the highest perch and took 2 laps end to end. Within the next couple days, it was flying end to end several laps at a time without landing. Almost a month to the day after being found, the eagle was transported back to a safe place near where it was found, meeting the gentleman who had found it to help with and enjoy the release. It took a victory lap upon being released before settling in a tree. 


You can see the video of the release and check out the inside of our flight barn here!

Poisoned Bald Eagle

In mid March we received a call from a landowner out of Eureka with three Bald Eagles , two right next to each other and the third a short distance away. All were very lethargic and barely responsive. On arrival the juvenile eagle had died, the adult eagle vomited a large amount of foul material and then died. The third eagle was barely alive, its crop was empty so small amounts of Pedialyte were given several times. The following morning the eagle was still very lethargic. Fluids were administered hourly and by midafternoon it could hold its head up and was trying to stand so a small amount of beef heart was given. The next morning it was standing up & alert so food was assist fed and by afternoon it was more active so was moved to our 40 ft flight chamber. It quickly became obvious it was ready for the 100 ft flight barn and when released immediately went to the highest perch then made several end to end flights. After a few days of observation, we contacted the FWP biologist in Eureka to find a safe release site away from where it was found. The eagle had a great release flight, landing high up in a tree then taking off flying high circling around getting its bearings then flew out of sight. It was amazing to see this eagle go from death’s door to release in a couple of weeks. The two deceased birds were sent to an avian forensic lab for necropsy. They died from pentobarbital which is a drug used to euthanize large animals. These birds must have must have eaten meat from an animal that had been euthanized.

You can check out the release here!

Great Horned Owl

Some injuries take a lot of time to mend - at the end of November 2021, a Great Horned Owl was admitted in very tough shape almost deceased with a broken left wing and head trauma affecting the right eye. Its appetite was not great and it was having difficulties seeing. In a couple of weeks, the wing was mended and it was eating fairly well, but the head and eye needed more time. By mid-December, depth and balance were coming back and the owl could perch. By February, improvement progressed to trying to fly. It was then moved into the flight chamber with another Great Horned rehab to regain strength and fine tune the flying skills. By the end of March, it passed all our tests and was ready to be released. Releases don't always go as planned and in this case - the owl had a strong flight, but upon landing a Red-tailed Hawk in a nearby tree screeched and another hawk appeared circling overhead, 2 crows and a magpie showed up diving at the owl- these neighbors were not happy to have this owl in their neighborhood! The owl must have agreed it was not the spot, it let us easily catch it to try again somewhere else. Upon finding another spot, it thought for a minute before flying off to a pine tree. After collecting itself for a few minutes, it took off out of sight. It has had a long strange journey, but survived to thrive again! 

Western Screech-owl

One evening near the end of December 2021, a lady found a Western Screech-owl by her driveway. It was unresponsive, but it appeared to be alive. She took it inside to warm it up and by morning it was standing up, so she called MWWRC. It was lethargic and had a head injury. It didn't eat on its own, so volunteers were dedicated to hand feeding it for the next couple weeks. When it started eating on its own, the improvements continued at a good pace. Within a few weeks, it quickly became good at flying and showed it was ready to release. On a nice day in January, Barbara made arrangements to release it with the lady who had found it. The day was sunny and the owl was happy to go! Thanks to actions of the lady who found it and taking time to help get it to the center, this owl survived to carry on with its life. 

bottom of page