A short video about Ariel
Ariel, CRC's resident White-tailed Kite, came in as a fledgling in September 2010, when his nest fell out of a tree. We don't actually know if Ariel is male or female, since the sexes look the same, but we refer to “him.” At the veterinary teaching hospital, an exam found no broken bones or other injury that would explain why he was not flying, and he was brought to CRC for observation and assessment.
Before long, it became plain that Ariel could not see well. An eye exam revealed no physical problems, leaving the possibility that he had suffered an injury to the optic nerve beyond the orb of the eye. As a result, he cannot see well enough to hunt, and is non-releasable.
Ariel may not be eagle-eyed, but he serves an important function at the CA Raptor Center, as you will see in his video. CRC gets in several injured kites each year, and Ariel becomes a model of calm for these very stressy patients. When they share Ariel's quarters, they seem to feel safer, able to tolerate captivity and rehabilitation until they recover and can be returned to the wild.