Houston Audubon’s Raptor and Education Center, located in southeast Houston, is not only a beautiful nature sanctuary, but also our education headquarters and home to our ambassador animals. And this past spring has brought some exciting new additions to our team of 31 animals, including 13 birds of prey. The majority of the birds that assist us in our programs were found injured in the wild and were rehabilitated, but cannot be released as it would be difficult for them to survive in the wild. We’d like to introduce you to some of our newest team members!
Last Thanksgiving, a dark-morph Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk was found in Montana with a badly injured wing. He was rescued and taken to Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody. Because part of his wing was missing, we believe that he may have been hit by a car or flew into some power lines. He went through surgery to clean the wing, but is no longer able to fly. Thanks to our great friends at Ironside Bird Rescue, Standish was brought to the Raptor Center, where he joined the team as one of our education ambassadors. Standish was named after Plymouth Colony’s military advisor, Myles Standish, because he was found on Thanksgiving Day. When you visit, you will be able to see three different colorations of Red-tailed Hawks: a rufous-morph western Red-tailed Hawk, a light-morph Harlan’s, and a dark-morph Harlan’s.
Not long after we welcomed Standish, we received word of another rehabilitated raptor that was in need of placement. The call came from a little closer to home¬–Friends of Texas Wildlife in Magnolia had found a rufous-morph Eastern Screech-Owl in January that had been hit by a car. The owl, named Pierre, had suffered a major eye injury and his right eye could not be saved. Thanks to the staff at Friends of Texas Wildlife, Pierre has recovered as best as possible and is now living with Percy, our gray-morph Eastern Screech-Owl. Percy has also sustained permanent damage to his left eye, so they are a great pair!
In addition to birds, our education team cares for a variety of other animals, including snakes, spiders, a toad, a turtle, and now, a very special opossum. Violet Pickles, or “Pickles” for short, came to us from Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition (TWRC) in Houston. She has metabolic bone disease and a cross bite that have deemed her non-releasable. We’re so happy to have this little cutie pie and she is quickly becoming the star of our programs. Opossums are North America’s only marsupial, making them very special. Contrary to popular belief, opossum have an incredible immune system, with immunity to rabies as well as many venomous snake bites. They are extremely beneficial to our environment and help control the spread of diseases by eating lots and lots of ticks!
Our newest addition is a very special case. One morning this past May, during morning chores in the homing pigeon coup, we found an egg with a tiny pip in it. The egg was cold and had been abandoned, so we brought it inside, warmed it up, and waited to see what would happen. After six hours, a little pigeon entered the world, and she was named Corona Covid. She has grown up very quickly, thanks to the special care of our staff, and soon she will join our education ambassador team. Corona will help us teach about Passenger Pigeons, and how non-native species end up in new places all around the world.
Please join us in welcoming our newest non-human team members!
By Jeanette Lambert, Education Specialist, Houston Audubon
If you want to support our feathered team members, you can Adopt a Bird here! Your generous support through the adoption program ensures high quality housing, food, veterinary care, and training for our animals.
Stay tuned to learn more about the rest of our animal ambassadors. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on social media!