Raptor Center releases hundreds of birds in '08

Jaye Moore isn't afraid to get a phone call.

She'd rather hear from concerned people to verify whether an animal needs her attention rather than having healthy animals dropped off at her center.

Moore operates the Northwest Raptor Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rehabilitating wildlife for release back into the wild.

On July 29, she received several calls about an apparently injured American bald eagle that was seen on the Woodcock Road bridge over the Dungeness River.

Moore said she and Tim Smith, a volunteer with the center, tried to capture the bird. They went back and forth across the river but often lost sight of the bird.

"It could fly just enough to stay away from us," Moore said. "But it was critically injured, bleeding from the neck down its back, so we kept trying to catch him."

"Finally I started making a lot of noise and movement across the river when we caught sight of him again - while Tim snuck up on the bird from behind, on his belly," Moore said. "It was probably quite the sight from the bridge."

The infected wound was horribly infested and rather deep, but the bird had no broken bones, torn ligaments or internal injuries so Moore said there is a very good chance he will be able to be released soon.

It is the second bald eagle in two months that Moore has taken in for rehabilitation. Another came in June and already is in the large flying pen to regain strength before being returned to the wild near Quilcene.

"People who see a horribly injured animal should know it's time to bring in the Raptor Center," Moore said. "But for other situations, like what may look like an abandoned fawn, they need to leave it alone or give us a call before bringing it in."

Does often leave fawns behind while they forage for food. It isn't abandonment, it's the way deer survive.

Moore has a handful of fawns at the center that she plans on releasing soon.

Other animals that came in this year included baby barn owls and hundreds of fledging crows, sparrows and chickens.

"We've released hundreds so far this year and now that we're well through summer, the busy baby season is over," Moore said.

There are times when the Raptor Center is forced to keep an animal for the rest of its life, such as when it is missing a body part needed to survive in the wild or if it is too accustomed to humans.

"We're having a really big problem in Diamond Point right now with raccoons," Moore said, because people are feeding them, either on purpose or accidentally. "These guys are getting big and bold because they are so used to humans, which is not good for their health."

Moore said the state kills animals that are too accustomed to humans because relocation is often impossible and allowing them to remain risks human health.

"People around here are worried about elusive cougars," Moore said. "I would be much more concerned about these big, bold raccoons wandering close to a child that it is not afraid to approach when hungry."

The Raptor Center is dependent on donations and fundraising efforts. To help the center, send donations to 1051 Oak Court in Sequim. Moore said she also accepts fresh road kill for her carnivorous tenants.

Rendezvous for Raptors, a fundraising potluck to benefit the Northwest Raptor Center, is scheduled for Aug. 30 at 4734 Sequim-Dungeness Way in Dungeness. Raptor displays, guided tours of the center, a barbeque and music start at 2 p.m. For more information, call the Raptor Center at 681-2283.

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