Although RCA's primary mission is rehabilitation, we maintain several permanent residents for educational programs. Education is a key tool in our mission to work with the public and the awareness of our organization and our mission. All of our program presenters are volunteers, so scheduling a program is limited to their availability.
We can't change the world unless we teach others about the root cause of why we exist and our impact on the natural world around us. With many people taking up new outdoor hobbies during these unprecedented times, more and more birds that would have gone unnoticed are being found and brought to our facility. Our programs create and foster value in education and continue to create ambassadors for our endeavors.
Chinkapin resides with our other broad-winged hawk, Mercury. She was transferred to us from a North Carolina rehab center in 2006 with a wing injury. She is now retired.
Mercury resides with our other broad-winged hawk, Chinkapin. He was hatched in 2019 with microphthalmia and came to us from the Carolina Raptor Center.
Gemini arrived as a half-grown chick which had been imprinted by well-meaning person. Since his orientation is towards people, we cannot be released to the wild. This sassy squirt endears himself to the public.
This half-grown chick arrived in 2008, found on a roadside. We fostered her to a pair of turkey vultures at the local nature center. 10 days later, the chick was returned to us a bloody mess. We then learned there was a tom turkey in the same enclosure, and the bird cornered the chick and plucked out all its primary feathers! During the course of treatment, we affectionately called her "Squirtsy". The name stuck, and she learned to trust us. When the feathers grew back, we hoped to release her; but there was damage to the follicles, and the feathers kept growing in and falling out, so she became an avian ambassador. Photo by Joel Sartore.
Lucy is a gunshot victim. Her injury was too close to the elbow to repair, so she joined our educational ambassador roster. Her stunning appearance wows audiences everywhere!
Nimbus came to us as a 2-year old in 2006 from the World Bird Sanctuary, where he had been captive-hatched and raised to be an educational ambassador. Nimbus also serves as a foster parent for young orphaned barn owls who arrive at the center. Photo by Joel Sartore.
A chainsaw changed the life of this nestling forever when it cut through the nest hole where he and 4 siblings were growing. One chick was killed, one died later, one was euthanized, and only one was released. Of the 5 chicks, all were red-phased. Sequoia's wing was badly broken, healed crooked, and is now unable to fly.
Halsey came to us as an adult in 1997, a vehicle casualty suffering severe head trauma. Though he regained his equilibrium, he never got back the fierce disposition characteristic of Great Horned Owls.
Many times Great Horned Owls are referred to as 'tigers of the forest' or 'tigers with wings', so we found it fitting to name him after one of Nebraska's national forests.
Winona arrived at the center in 2018 from Lincoln, NE with a badly broken wing. The wing had to be partially amputated, so she is unable to be released back to the wild.