The US Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Permits Office has decided that a small private wildlife rehabilitator's facility in Massachusetts is a better permanent home for our two Bald Eagles than the 20 million dollar Arctic exhibit at the Buffalo Zoo which is AZA accredited. The birds will be forced to perform on the glove at demonstrations vs. being quietly on display at the zoo.
To say I am disgusted would be an understatement. After more than 25 years of volunteering my time and money to help care for wildlife for the US Fish and Wildlife Service I am sick to know that they do not care about what's in the best interest of the birds. Although it shouldn't be a surprise to me. These were the same people who told me I would have to euthanize Peregrine Falcon BB after the NYSDEC brought her to our facility this past summer. Their indifference to the needs of the individual animals is insulting to every volunteer wildlife rehabilitator and veterinarian who has given their time to care for these animals.
The Eagles will be leaving on Friday November 22. They will be going to the Massachusetts Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center, which is a backyard rehabilitation facility very similar to ours. They do not have unique facilities for the birds and they certainly will not be able to provide better care or a better educational setting than the Buffalo Zoo would have provided.
In my opinion these birds are not suited to being forced to perform on the glove. They should be display animals only. The Buffalo Zoo's facility would be a far better permanent placement for them.
Any comments would best be sent to:
Director Region 5
USFWS Div. of Migratory Birds-R5
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035
Bless the Beasts Foundation Inc. is a network of wildlife rehabilitators that serve Niagara, Erie, Genesee and Orleans Counties.
Wildlife rehabilitation is the care of orphaned and injured wildlife for the purpose of returning them back into their natural habitat. Animals are fed, housed and provided with veterinary care until they are ready for release. Care is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and all of the associated costs of care are incurred by the rehabilitators themselves.
Our mission at Bless the Beasts is to provide care for sick and injured wildlife until their ultimate successful release back into the wild, and to provide free education programs to children and adults in the community who share space with these magnificent creatures. This is done with the understanding that treating the animals only works on the symptoms, while teaching the public; awareness, appreciation and respect, works to alleviate the problem.
Several months ago I was asked by the New York State DEC to help care for a certain problematic Peregrine Falcon from Buffalo. She came to stay with me until her final disposition could be determined. While in Buffalo she developed a penchant for attacking men in a parking lot near her nest. She'd fly 1500-1700 feet to warn off any unsuspecting man getting out of his car. What was so unusual about this little lady is that there was a day-care center just below her nest, but she never attacked a woman or a child. Now you can make several humorous inferences from this (and over the months we certainly did) but it was becoming a problem and the DEC was asked to deal with it.
I am happy to report that, last week, Peregrine Falcon BB was released back to the wild in Northern NY. And while not a great solution, it was probably the best scenario for her situation. It was done with the understanding that, it is probably easier to ask a Peregrine Falcon to relocate and hopefully find a new mate in a different habitat than it is to educate a human populace that, for the most part, does not possess the attention span required to learn how to live peacefully with a very beautiful and territorial bird. In order to understand wildlife you must first appreciate it. Unfortunately this appreciation is sorely lacking in the general public.
Thanks to everyone who expressed concern for BB while she was with me and thanks to the DEC for entrusting her to my care. It was a little intimidating to know that all eyes were on me while caring for her, even though I've been doing wildlife rehabilitation for over 25 years. Many people would question my qualifications and methods over the past several months. From the photos on our photo page you can see how strong and beautiful she was on the day of her release. It truly was a privilege to care for her and to spend time with her. Her release was the highlight of my summer.