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West Virginia Wildlife
Injured Raptors
Patrick McMurtry How To Handle An Injured Bird Of Prey

February 5, 2014
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


We are lucky to have such a diverse wildlife population in West Virginia, and some of the most amazing animals are flying high above the ground looking for food. But sometimes these magnificent creatures wound up hurt and grounded. If you run across an injured raptor, the first thing you need to do is be careful. Wendy Perrone is the director of the 3 Three Rivers Avian Center in Summers County, she and her husband Ron have been dealing with injured birds for a long time.

"The first thing you have to remember is the beak and talons are the birds first line of defense. Wear leather gloves if you can, take a light weight blanket or jacket and place it over the bird and gather them up and place them in a container they can stand up easily in, but not throw themselves around in. We've had people use laundry hampers, trash cans, boxes, kennels." says Perrone.

The next thing you need to do is figure out where you're going to take the injured raptor. Wendy says the 3 Rivers Avian Center can get you, and the bird, in the right place with one phone call.

"We have vets that work with us all over the state. There's over 17 in the network at the moment. We have vets that know how to work with these birds and can get them the proper care that they need." says Perrone.

While it's pretty rare to see an injured hawk, owl, eagle or vulture on the ground, it does happen. And Wendy says there are two main ways these birds wind up hurt.

"We've seen a lot of collisions, everything from windows, cars, even buildings. Just like people can trip on a crack in the sidewalk, birds can fly into a branch in a tree, same thing happens. Lots of collision injuries. We've also started testing for lead. We're finding a lot of lead contamination in hawks, owls and eagles." says Perrone.

Now you know what to do if you run into an injured raptor.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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