Sunday afternoon hubby and I joined a good-sized crowd from the Yellow Springs community to celebrate Earth Day at the Glen Helen Raptor Center by witnessing the release of a rehabilitated red-tailed hawk. This beautiful bird was injured in Mercer County last August and nursed back to health by the dedicated staff of the Raptor Center.
The Center houses an assortment of raptors including a variety of owls, American kestrels, a bald eagle, several hawks, Peregrine falcons, and a vulture or two. All of the birds were injured in some way and many are unable to be returned to the wild due to the extent of the damage they suffered. Those who must be kept confined are well cared for in large runs which give them room to fly, and housed with a mate whenever possible. Sunday’s release was an educational and inspirational event I won’t soon forget. I learned the Great Horned Owl, barely two feet tall but almost as big around, weighs less than four pounds – astonishing! One of the birds has been mourning the loss of his mate for several months and is only now, very grudgingly, accepting a new female in his life. The eagle which has been at the Center for many years is thirty-six years old, testament to the excellent care they provide to these magnificent creatures.
Man continually destroys nature, but efforts such as those put forth by the Raptor Center fight the mindless insensitivity that is so prevalent, one bird at a time. In this season of celebrating the renewal of life, of welcoming spring, witnessing the return of this beautiful creature to its natural habitat was a spiritual moment far surpassing any organized church service constrained by four walls. Nature truly is my cathedral, and I was honored and humbled to be a part of Sunday’s ceremony.
|Center Director Betty Ross|
As Center director Betty Ross raised the rehabbed hawk for release, she recited their traditional words of farewell taken from a song, “Wild Again,” written for the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association by Douglas Wood:
With our brothers and sisters, we all share one world,
and there's one common spirit within.
It's the wild things that help us survive on this earth,
without them we couldn't begin.
So, once in awhile we've a chance to give back, just a little from all that we take,
And a wild one returned to the circle of life is a part of the world that we make.
She ended with: “We don't know what will happen to the bird, but it is getting a second chance, and we wish it well.”
What more could I wish for myself, or for you?