Group that rescues, rehabilitates birds of prey wants more land for new facility

A variety of birds of prey call Florida's skies home, but sometimes these birds need a helping hand, which can be found at the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay. It’s a nonprofit organization that rescues, treats and rehabilitates birds to release them back into the wild. 

"We actually work to rehabilitate them. If they need a vet, we get them a vet. We’re fortunate to work with a lot of local vets, including vets from Busch Gardens Animal Care Center. Then they come back to us, where they get well and convalesce. Then they go into a big flight cage, where they are conditioned for flight and then they’re released back into the wild," explained Nancy Murrah with the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay.  

The center goes on five to seven rescue calls a day, which can be for anything from a squirrel to a sandhill crane to a bald eagle. Murrah says 90 percent of the birds they get are the result of some type of human interaction. 

"We get birds that are shot. We get birds that run into power lines, run into buildings, are attacked by cars, hit by cars, are poisoned," she explained. 

Murrah says the organization has outgrown its current property and is looking for two to five acres of land to build a new facility, which will include a clinic, several 100-foot fly cages and a visitor’s center to educate the public about birds of prey. The center conducts monthly educational sessions on conservation but wants to do weekly sessions once it has a new space. 

The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay is always looking for volunteers and donations. Anyone who finds an injured bird is asked to call the hotline at 813-205-1851.

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