This weekend our receptionist Jessa found this beautiful raptor in her backyard after it flew into their window! Just because we live in the city doesn't mean that we don't interact with wildlife on a daily basis.
Did you know that Nebraska is home to 27 species of raptors throughout the year? The largest is the Bald Eagle, which can weigh up to 10 lbs or more with a wingspan greater than 6 feet. In contrast, the smallest includes the Eastern Screech Owl, which only weights 4-8 ounces with a wingspan of 18-24 inches.
Everyone is familiar with rabbits, squirrels, opossums and the occasional raccoon; but what should you do if you encounter a wild animal that is injured or debilitated? In Nebraska we are lucky enough to have the Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery Center, located right here in Omaha. If you find an injured bird please visit the Raptor Recovery Center website at http://www.raptorrecoverynebr.org/ or call 402-994-2009. If you are unable to reach anyone at the Raptor Recovery Center contact the Nebraska Humane Society Animal Control at 402-444-7800.
Remember these important guidelines when you find an injured raptor:
- FIRST RULE OF RAPTOR HANDLING: Keep yourself safe! If you don't feel comfortable or are not able to capture the bird, please try to cover it with a laundry basket or ventilated cardboard box until a rep from RRN can arrive
- The raptor you are attempting to rescue will NOT understand that you are trying to help it. When you approach, it will likely try to protect itself and may attack you.
- Approach the bird from behind, if possible
- Cover the bird completely with a large towel, blanket, jacket, or any light-weight item
- Transfer the bird to a well-ventilated cardboard box (i.e. with small air holes) as soon as possible—the box should be big enough for the bird to stand up, but not turn around easily (if available, please put a piece of old carpet in the bottom of the box--helps keep the bird from sliding around and being further injured)
- Do not attempt to treat or feed the bird yourself! Many well-meaning attempts have resulted in further injury or the death of a bird