On Saturday, I found myself out at the Apple Store (Galleria Mall). While I was not feeling in the mood to be in a mall, I did manage to make the best of the excursion. On my way out of the store, I came across the good folks at Hawk Creek Wildlife Center. I’m a sucker for any sort of wildlife, even at the mall.
On this particular visit, I came across Merlin, a barred owl, with his handler Laurie Schaller. Laurie told me that Merlin had been struck by a car seven years ago, causing him to go blind in one eye. He also has mild brain damage that slows down his reaction time. Thankfully, the driver that struck him brought him into Hawk Creek to be cared for. It is interesting, and sad, to note that owls often times get struck by cars because they have no peripheral vision. When they swoop down to catch their prey, they don’t see cars coming. This is a common occurrence, which is especially sad because there seems to be no way to prevent the occurrence from happening.
As I stood, transfixed by magnificent Merlin, I asked Laurie about habitat destruction, and other perils that face all birds and animals these days. She told me that while the barred owl is not facing extinction, there are some serious threats to the nocturnal bird of prey, and one of the gravest dangers is not readily apparent. It turns out that rat poison is the biggest threat that owls face. A rodent that eats the harmful pellets is then eaten by an owl, who in turn dies. Ouch! That is something that I never would have thought about, and I bet that there are others who are just as shocked to hear this. Talk about something that is preventable. If you live/work anywhere that is considered owl habitat, please rethink putting harmful rat pellets around the property. Remember, a live owl will do a lot more damage to a rodent population – let nature take its course.
Laurie informed me that Hawk Creek is doing quite well these days. She said that they have moved into a new, larger facility just down the road from their former home. The expanded property has allowed them to construct an eagle compound, which now houses five injured eagles. As much as it’s unfortunate to think that these magnificent birds are injured, we need to thank our lucky stars that Hawk Creek is around to help rehabilitate the stunning, formerly soaring creatures. Hopefully, if the nature preserve works its magic, the eagles will have a second chance to soar once more.
Before walking away, I thanked Laurie (a volunteer) for everything that she was doing to help care for the birds and other wild animals at the sanctuary, and then dropped some money into the donation jar.
This holiday season, please consider making a donation to Hawk Creek. The work that they do is selfless and beyond instrumental. Merlin will spend the rest of his days at Hawk Creek, which means that he will have to be housed, fed, and taken care of in other ways. This is an endeavor that costs money… and that’s why monetary donations of all sizes are welcome.
“Every contribution made goes DIRECTLY to the animals entrusted in our care, our environmental programming, and our conservation projects. Do not underestimate the potential of even the smallest contribution.” – Hawk Creek