Raptors Admitted to Rehab Center via Abuse

In the last few months, Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (EWRC) has admitted State and federally protected birds with injuries sustained as a direct result of illegal activity.

All migratory birds are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We are hoping to raise awareness in an effort to help these beneficial species.

Over the weekend we received a turkey vulture shot full of pellets. This bird was reported by a couple in Colorado Springs near Cheyenne Creek, who on Friday evening were surprised to see the bird “drop out of the sky.” The couple didn’t hear any shots fired. The next morning the searched for the bird and found it huddled underneath the shrubs. An EWRC volunteer picked up the bird and brought it to the vet for treatment. The vet x-rayed the vulture and found it with “diffuse” pellets to its wings and body, with accompanying bruising beginning to surface. The bird may not survive.

A few weeks ago, another couple brought an adult Swainson’s hawk here to rehab after finding it in their field. A visit to the vet and x-rays showed pieces of a metal projectile in the joint of the bird. The vet removed the metal and now we’re hoping this magnificent bird will recover from its injuries and again migrate to its home in Argentina.

Earlier this spring, a Great Horned Owl was brought to EWRC for rehab after being deliberately knocked out of a tree in Monument. The bird suffered significant head trauma from the incident but amazingly, survived the ordeal.

I’m pretty sure that the people breaking the laws that protect these birds don’t care about them at all. But they may be interested in learning that there can be hefty State and federal penalties involved if convicted of “hunting and/or illegal possession” of these birds, including fines, jail time, and maybe even assessment of points against their fishing and hunting licenses.

Please, if you notice someone shooting birds out of the sky, please let someone know, such as the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and/or EWRC. You can also report any suspicious activity regarding wildlife, including poaching, anonymously at Operation Game Thief.

Some birds and seasons allow hunting of some species of game birds, but birds of prey are NEVER those species. Currently it’s dove hunting season, but I’m very doubtful the turkey vulture was mistaken for a dove.

Donna Ralph

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Comment by Bob Stephens on September 15, 2010 at 12:57am
Thanks for the work everyone does at the Ellicott Wildlife Rehab Center. Keep us posted on the birds and what people can do to help, Donna.


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