Thanks to steadfast supporters and the practical determination of a local Boy Scout troop, a bird of prey as large as a Golden eagle can practice its moves while being safely confined during rehabilitation at the California Raptor Center.
Friday, June 3, volunteers, faculty and friends of the California Raptor Center dedicated a new flight cage in the name of the late Dr. Frank Ogasawara, a professor of avian science who taught at UC Davis in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences until his retirement in 1986. Dr. Ogasawara co-founded the California Raptor Center in 1972.
Dr. Bill Ferrier, co-director of the center with Dr. Lisa Tell, made brief remarks and unveiled a photographic plaque commemorating Frank Ogasawara. The center is located in Davis, CA at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
The dimensions of the cage, adapted from a commercial greenhouse kit, are 30 feet by 90 feet. It is the largest cage at the center and can be used for almost all hawks, owls, and eagles. During their rehabilitation, the birds rebuild their strength by flying inside the cage. Birds must prove that they can successfully capture their own food before being released again into the wild.
Mrs. Kay Ogasawara, flanked by her adult children Patricia, Paul and Pamela, attended the brief ceremony along with other family members and friends. Faculty members from the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as well as former and present volunteers participated.
Dr. Francine Bradley, a poultry specialist with the Department of Animal Science, described Dr. Ogasawara's vision and inspiration as teacher and scholar, saying that he conducted undergraduate student outreach before the term had been coined. Alida Morizenti, a co-founder and former director of the center, explained that the center's original goal to serve as a research resource was quickly expanded to include rehabilitation services.
The Ogasawara family contributed approximately $6,600 to purchase the structure. Chris and Kim Welborn also contributed to the project and were recognized at the event. A third donor remains anonymous.
EAGLE (SCOUT) LEADS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
A second plaque adjacent to Dr. Ogasawara's recognizes the efforts of Sacramento's Boy Scout Troop One in building the facility. Led by 18-year-old Alex Strack, who supervised the construction project to qualify as an Eagle Scout, the troop's members and families logged in 430 hours over the course of several months to build the cage.
Dr. Ferrier explained that the size of the cage adds greater flexibility in rehabilitating birds such as ferruginous hawks and larger species, including Golden eagles. The length of the cage provides ample space, Ferrier stated, for rapid acceleration and deceleration that are part of the rehabilitation process.
Now under the wing of the School of Veterinary Medicine, the California Raptor Center continues to teach both veterinary and animal science students about the biology and health of raptors while performing rescue, treatment and rehabilitation services. Raptors are birds of prey that include hawks, eagles, kites, falcons, vultures and owls. About 37 species of raptors live in or migrate through California.
An afternoon reception and a visit with a resident red-shouldered hawk trained for educational presentations concluded the event.
Supported by the School of Veterinary Medicine and private donations, the California Raptor Center relies on student and community volunteers to care for the more than 200 injured or orphaned hawks, owls, falcons and other birds of prey rescued each year. Faculty of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital provide medical services and teach veterinary students how to care for and manage the health of injured or ill birds of prey.
"Adopt a Bird" at the California Raptor Center