The Southeastern Raptor Center is asking for $25,000 to build a new rehabilitation enclosure for raptors as part of its Tiger Giving Day project.
The Raptor Center is a regional rehabilitation and education facility for raptors and other birds of prey including owls, hawks, falcons, vultures, eagles, kites and osprey. The facility is also home to eagles Independence, Spirit, Nova and Aurea, the eagles known to perform the pre-game flight ritual at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The center is focusing its Giving Day project on expanding and building modern aviaries to hold more raptors and improve the rehabilitation process.
The money raised on Tiger Giving Day will contribute to the overall cost of $325,000 needed to build the enclosure. The new enclosure will be circular with internal holding rooms and an 11-inch wide flyway. The enclosure will be approximately 2,300 square feet and take approximately six months to complete.
“Right now, we kind of got rectangular aviaries which really aren’t the best design for rehabilitation,” said Andrew Hopkins, assistant director of raptor training and education.
In the current rectangular enclosures, the birds fly from one end to the other and land on each side. The circular enclosures are a more modern design of rehabilitation aviaries. The circular enclosures allow the birds to fly nonstop which helps them gain strength faster and speeds up the rehabilitation process.
“We can house more birds and hopefully, release them back into the wild a little sooner than we might be able to with our current aviaries,” Hopkins said.
Stephanie Kadletz, a raptor rehabilitation specialist, gave more insight on the benefits of a circular aviary.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“We can look at how they’re maneuvering, are they able to get lift, are they landing appropriately and so with it being a larger and circular flight aviary in that process we’ll be able to evaluate these birds a lot better,” Kadletz said. “We’ll be able to get a better sense of what they can do in their continual flight.”
The second reason for the new enclosure is the need for more space at the rehabilitation center. The current enclosures were built in 2000 and since then, the center’s raptor admissions have increased each year.
“Last year, we got over 340 admissions and we just need more room to house all these raptors before they get released back into the wild,” Hopkins said.
The center will build seven of these circular enclosures and transfer the birds from their old enclosures to the new ones. The current, rectangular enclosures will be torn down afterward.
Donors participating in Tiger Giving Day can help the center reach its goal by donating at TigerGiving.org.
“Our donors have been great over the years for us and I’m hopeful that we’ll meet our goal,” Hopkins said.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman