Bowling for Raptors
The public is invited to help the Great Bend Raptor Center by attending Bowling for Raptors from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Walnut Bowl, 3101 Washington.
Cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children 13 years old and younger. The price includes shoe rental, three games of bowling and a ticket for a prize drawing. All proceeds will go to help improve the animal rehabilitation program at the Raptor Center, based in the Brit Spaugh Zoo.
One section of Brit Spaugh Zoo that is seldom seen by the public is currently housing several birds of prey. The zoo is headquarters for the Great Bend Raptor Center, where injured birds are rehabilitated. This week the center is treating a Golden Eagle and a Bald Eagle, both suffering from gunshot wounds. Zookeeper Stacie Hayes said one of the eagles was shot in central Kansas, and one came from western Kansas. Shooting these birds is a crime and is being investigated by Fish and Wildlife officials.
The Raptor Center is also housing a Great Horned Owl that appears to have burned a wing on an electric fence. Dr. Michael Malone, veterinarian to the zoo, amputated part of the wing. Because survival in the wild is unlikely, this bird will be placed at another zoo or education center.
“A rough-legged hawk came in last week,” Hayes said. “An old break on its wing had healed, but he won’t be able to survive in the wild so we’re going to place him, too.”
If the eagles recover enough to be released back into the wild, they will first moved from critical care to 8-by-10-foot flight mews (enclosures) to encourage limited use of their injured wings. From there they move to a 120-by-20-foot mew on the grounds of the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility.
While the birds are being treated by humans, the caregivers are careful to prevent the raptors becoming dependent on humans. If the bird becomes imprinted, release is very difficult