Support the California Raptor Center on Giving Tuesday

Six abandoned owl chicks raised and released by the CRC

Support the California Raptor Center on Giving Tuesday

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Out at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, employees with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) got a big surprise one March morning. They turned on an excavator—and a barn owl flew out of the engine compartment! Inside the compartment, the spooked mother owl had left a nest of six eggs that would not survive without human intervention.

Barn owl eggs hatching at the CRC.

That afternoon CDFW staff delivered the eggs to the California Raptor Center (CRC), one of very few facilities with the permits and experience to hatch and raise raptor chicks. Staff put the eggs in a top-of-the-line incubator gifted by a CRC supporter. As chicks began hatching some 10 days later, they were placed in a brooder, an intensive care chamber providing supplemental heat and humidity. Staff hand-fed the owlets minced mice while camouflaged in a special outfit to prevent the owlets from imprinting on humans. Recordings of California nature sounds simulated the owls’ natural environment.

Hatching and raising abandoned raptor chicks is part of our amazing work at the California Raptor Center. Your support allows us to advance the care, research and education to help these magnificent birds.

Michelle G. Hawkins, VMD, DABVP
Director, California Raptor Center

 The chicks were hand-fed using tiny tweezers
The chicks were hand-fed using tiny tweezers.

Soon the owlets graduated into a hutch and then to the barn owl flight aviary to practice their hunting skills. By mid-June, they were ready for release. The CRC team and volunteers met CDFW staff at the site where the excavator had been parked. One by one, the barn owls hopped out of their carriers and took to the sky, ready to begin their lives in the wild.

Wondrous events like these are central to our work at the California Raptor Center, where we strive every day to improve care, research and education to benefit our region’s amazing birds of prey. In addition to hatching, raising and releasing abandoned birds, we care for a number of resident raptors—birds that are non-releasable due to permanent injuries or other disabilities—who serve as “educational ambassadors” for their species.

On Giving Tuesday, you can support the CRC’s important work by making a donation of any size.

Please join us with a gift today