Tuesday, August 15, 2000

They give them wings and prayers

RAPTOR Inc. saves birds of prey that have seriously ruffled their feathers

By Mike Pulfer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Did you have a nice flight to end your summer vacation?

Volunteer veterinary Dr. Peter Hill and LuAnn Junker begin tests on the barn owl at PetCare Animal Hospital, Blue Ash.
(Luis Sanchez photo)
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        Well, some of these guys didn't.

        But, thanks to the Regional Association for the Protection and Treatment of Raptors (RAPTOR Inc.), injured birds of prey will fly again.

        RAPTOR, a private nonprofit group based in a weathered-wood, tin-roof barn on the western edge of Winton Woods, in Springfield Township, has helped rehabilitate birds and educate humans since 1978. The group's focus: hawks, eagles, osprey, vultures and owls that need help.

        Now the organization itself needs help — to finance a new outdoor educational facility.

        “Interest has grown over the past five years,” said Jeff Hays, RAPTOR treasurer. “Last year, we went to more than 100 schools (most of them elementary) in our educational program.”

        RAPTOR has about 300 local members. Officers, members and consulting veterinarians volunteer their services.

        The organization now has 20 birds in its roomy cages (6-by-6-by-10 feet tall), 12 of which will be returned to the wild near the spots where they were rescued. The remaining residents are “program birds,” too fragile to survive in the wild and designated to demonstrate characteristics and capabilities in visits to schools.

        For more information or to report an ailing bird, call 825-3325 or go to http://w3.one.net/~keller/raptor/index.htm.

A great horned owl awaits its release from a veterinary clinic after treatment for a swollen knee.
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Surgery on the owl's broken leg is reflected in Dr. Peter Hill's glasses.
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Closeup of a red-tailed hawk, which now makes its home at RAPTOR's rehabilitation facility in Springfield Township.
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Volunteer LuAnn Junker of Williamstown puts an injured barn owl on a towel before a trip to an animal hospital. The bird was found in Indian Hill with a broken wing and leg.
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Jeff Hays attaches an aluminum tag to a red-tailed hawk before its return to the wild. The bird had been recovering from a wing injury.
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Its identification tag secure, the now-healthy hawk takes flight again in Colerain Township, with help from volunteer Jeff Hays.
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Roy Hennig, RAPTOR's education program director, takes a turkey vulture for an exercise walk in the sun.
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