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A Wild Ride @ Hawk Creek Wildlife Center

Cleo the Egyptian vulture | Photo: Kim Russell

It has become apparent that all of our beloved WNY non-profits are in need of funding during the COVID-19 crisis. From the arts to the animals, the calls for help are being sent out, and WNYers are coming to the rescue. These are the same non-profits that have contributed to forming the indelible cultural landscape of the city and the region. For years, Buffalo has been on the rise, partially due to the unwavering contributions of these non-profits… and now it is time for us to give back, if we can.

At this point, each non-profit has figured out resourceful ways for the community to help. For example, Hawk Creek Wildlife Center (East Aurora) can no longer continue on with its education programming and special events, which is how it normally bolsters its funding efforts. At the same time, the 100+ animal residents still need to be fed and cared for (food, housing, medicine), which is why there is now a renewed call to action. Hawk Creek has launched an Emergency Food Fund, where animal lovers can donate to this very worthy cause.

I am grateful for the resilient, supportive community of Western New York. Your commitment and support of Hawk Creek Wildlife Center as we work during these trying times to fulfill our mission is humbling—Buffalo truly is the city of good neighbors! Thank you for helping us care for the animals that have no voice of their own,” said Hawk Creek founder Loretta Jones.

Loretta Jones

It was while I was researching information about the Emergency Food Fund that I realized that I was unaware of the origins of this fascinating wildlife rescue group, founded by Jones in 1987. It turns out that the story began when when she decided to teach her own children about nature and wildlife. Little did she know at the time that these educational pursuits would lead her down a rabbit hole, a fox hole, and ultimately “soaring with the eagles.”

Today, Hawk Creek has the distinction of being “one of the largest raptor outreach facility in the East”; they have rehabilitated and released tens of thousands of injured and orphaned animals back to the wild, and bred and released 250 barn owls. They have done this in the mounting face of adversity, with depleting habitats, increased pollution, poisonings, hunting injuries, etc. Being a wild animal is a tough gig these days. That’s why it’s so important that we all help, when and where we can.

According to Tanya C. Lowe, Curator and Education Director at Hawk Creek, the wildlife rescue is an unusual non-profit because it is always operational around the clock, no matter the circumstances. The animals are always being cared for, even when there is a worldwide pandemic creating havoc. Fortunately, the Hawk Creek crew was not left completely in the lurch, as they began to prepare for the worst when they realized that there was trouble ahead. That gave them a little bit of a cushion, thankfully. But we’re talking about a cushion, not a plush couch.

Efforts are ramping up to rethink and rework much of the organization’s fundraising routines. Instead of visiting school children with their animal ambassadors, for example, Hawk Creek is now taking their fascinating educational programming online. Every Wednesday, starting at 1pm, animal enthusiasts can visit with their favorite feathered and furry friends on Facebook.

Every Wednesday, starting at 1pm, animal enthusiasts can visit with their favorite feathered and furry friends on Facebook. The show is live-feed, so viewers never know what to expect.

Now that volunteers at Hawk Creek are in quarantine, the daily tasks and chores at the preserve are handled by the staff. Everyone is pitching in to the best of their abilities. Work is one thing, funding is another. With regular sources of funding drying up, it’s up to the community to step up, by donating to this one of a kind WNY resource.

“At the end of the day as a not for profit, we have an obligation to continue helping the community by accepting injured and orphaned raptors, providing for the 100 resident animals that have nowhere else to go and safeguarding the health of our skeleton crew so that they can care for their own families.” – Hawk Creekers

Click here to meet some of the animals. Click here to learn about conservation efforts. Click here to get involved.


Your donation, no matter the amount, will provide food, medical care, bedding, utilities and other vital supplies to continue caring for our 100 animal residents.
  • To donate to Hawk Creek’s Emergency Food Fund, click here.
  • Adoption of the Month packages. Over the next 8 months, Hawk Creek will feature an animal resident every month for you to symbolically adopt. Your adoption will help cover the cost of food, housing, enrichment and medicine for your adopted animal. Along with a plush animal resembling your favorite Hawk Creek resident, you will receive a fact sheet all about the species, a bio of your adopted resident and a certificate. For example, see Scout, the Gray Fox (lead image)
  • Gift Cards: (meat), Tops (vegetables & fruit)
  • Store Credit: at Reboy Supply (716) 652-4321 and Clyde’s Feed & Animal Center (716) 648-2171
  • Accepting: chickens, turkeys, organic beef and wild game that does not contain ANY spices or fillers
  • When ordering on Amazon, please remember to use & choose Hawk Creek Wildlife as your supported charity. It won’t cost you a cent more to do this.

Are you cleaning out your freezers? Are you a local farmer willing to donate leftover harvests? A hunter making room for this years game?

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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