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Saturday morning bird rescue, a passion.

By Niels Lameijer on Jan 19, 2010 at 12:00 AM in My Life


Wildlife Rescue; A Passion

Kramer Swainson's HawkSaturday 10:00 AM, the phone rings. Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, they found an injured Great Horned Owl, and wondered if they could bring it over. No problem at all, since I was planning to spend some hours at the Ojai Raptor Center that day anyway.

10:05 AM, another call, this time a Pelican in distress on Carpinteria beach. I like pelicans, I see them every day diving from great height into the ocean. A majestic bird from a distance, and from up close (with their seven and a half foot wingspan) rather big!

Raptors I am fully ok with, give me a Hawk or Owl, no problem, I know what to look out for (the talons) and how to handle them. Pelicans, I was not so sure just yet. So after a few minutes on hands and knees, holding on to its foot-long beak while folding the wings, and sticking the nine pound bird under my arm, I was in the car and so was the pelican. I was soaking wet, and the pelican not entirely happy to be boxed-up. We made it home though where on of the other volunteers was ready to bring the pelican to rehabilitation pond.

Both Owl and Pelican are doing well and are tolerating their temporary homes in Santa Barbara (Pelican) and Ojai (Owl). The Owl is in the great care of Kim Stroud, Director of the Ojai Raptor Center. Kim is a great example of someone who is living her passion. A full time job and running a rehabilitation center on top of it (she rehabilitates about 1600 animals, about 700 raptors, a year) is something you can only do if your are fuelled by passion. She is a true inspiration to work with.