Meet Grinnel. She’s an ambassador from the Glen Helen Raptor Center. She and her companion ambassadors, Theo and Will, visited with area residents at the Davidson Interpretive Center a few weeks ago.
Grinnel is a barred owl. In 2004 as a youngster, she fell from her tree nesting cavity and was brought to the raptor center with head trauma. Recovered, she was reintroduced into the wild, only to land on someone’s feet on Grinnel Road, hence her name. She is quiet, calm and takes an interest in her audiences, her head turning often to take in all the movements and sounds.
Theo is an American kestrel that was caught in a sticky glue trap as a young bird. A sticky glue trap will catch mice and other small rodents without killing them. If left outdoors sometimes hunting birds such as kestrels, hawks and owls swoop in for a meal and get caught too. Theo was taken to the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis for extensive rehab as most of his feathers were pulled out as he struggled in the trap. After rehab there, he moved to Glen Helen.
Theo is the vocal ambassador. His klee, klee, klee accented the discussion as he keenly took in all the activity. Kestrels are small falcons with rufous colored backs and tails. They are about the size of a blue jay and hover on rapidly beating wings as they spot their prey. Some of Theo’s relatives live in our area as well as most of North and South America.
A red-tailed hawk, Will is from Medina County. He was injured in an encounter with a car. A broken leg healed but with a slight twist and weakness. He is three years old. His sharp eyesight kept him actively engaged in what was going on outside the center’s floor-to-ceiling windows where bird feeders attracted area songbirds. More than once he stretched his wings, ready to take off for some hunting.
All three birds behaved well for their spokesperson, Rebecca Jaramillo, Raptor Center Director. Rebecca shared many facts about Grinnel, Theo and Will and their relatives which led to questions and answers. All the while, the birds reminded the audience that there is much beauty in the raptor world. But because of the pace of life in the human world, sometimes these birds fly into circumstances that demand they rely on humans to help them get back on their feet (or wings).
That’s where the Glen Helen Raptor Center comes in. It operates two programs: education about raptors and their role in our ecosystems and rehabilitation of injured raptors with the goal of getting them back into the wild. The center has been in operation for over forty years and admits between 150 and 200 birds each year for rehab. Almost half are able to be released back into the wild.
Usually it’s not until we encounter an injured bird do we wonder what to do or who to call. It would behoove us to take time to check out the raptor center’s website at www.glenhelen.org/raptor-center for information that will come in handy if and when we do find an injured raptor. You can visit the center year round. It’s at 1075 State Route 343, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Call for hours of operation at 937-767-7648.
If you would like to have a program given for your organization, the center has a number of program themes. Call or visit the center to schedule a time-you can go there or have them come to you. Program fees vary.