What’s a raptor?

Raptors are also known as birds of prey. The word “raptor” is not a scientific term, but is derived from the Latin word “rapere” which means “to seize.” Raptors are carnivorous birds that feed on live captured prey or carrion, and share three common traits:

  • Highly developed eyesight
  • Sharp talons
  • A hooked beak

Raptors include Owls, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Ospreys, and Vultures.

In Virginia, the most common raptors include Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Osprey, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Black Vulture, and Turkey Vulture.

Less common (or seen only during migration) are Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Short-Eared Owl, Snowy Owl, Rough-Legged Hawk, Merlin & Golden Eagle.

Are you a veterinarian?

We would be more comparable to a paramedic. We have veterinarians partnering with us, who will provide support, advice, and medical services as needed. We are not veterinarians, and cannot provide the same level of care (such as surgery, or prescribing medicine). Most Veterinarians, however, are not well versed or trained in the daily care, rehabilitation, husbandry, caging, and feeding needs of a raptor. And so it is a often a very cooperative relationship between rehabilitators and vets when it comes to birds of prey.

What’s a mew?

A mew is simply a housing unit for birds of prey. They are specially constructed to protect the birds from predators and other threats, keep them comfortable & contained, prevent accidental release/escape, and provide them the privacy and seclusion they need to remain safe & wild. A mew is used after the acute phase of their treatment is completed, and they are completing their recovery and preparing to return to the wild.

Can I come see your birds?

We are essentially an animal hospital, not a zoo or education facility. Birds that are in our care are patients, and are treated as such. By law, we are not allowed to provide public access to our patients or expose the patients to people or pets.

Do you give tours?

On a pre-scheduled basis, we can provide a basic tour of our grounds & facilities, but not to the inside of our buildings, clinics, treatment areas, housing units, etc. This is both for safety of the patients and public, as well as to minimize the impacts to our availability to provide the care and treatment for our patients.

How big is your organization?

We are tiny. At this time, it is literally only Heather and Mark. As our patient load increases, and justifies the need, there may be a volunteer or two joining us. We like to plan, prepare, and present ourselves with the care and standards of a larger facility, and implement the best practices from well-established centers.

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