Audubon Florida News

Topic: Birds of Prey Ctr.,State Government,Wildlife

Attorney General Pam Bondi Releases Audubon’s 525th Rehabilitated Bald Eagle

posted on November 18, 2015 in Birds of Prey Ctr.,State Government,Wildlife

Bondi Release_webAudubon Florida chose to honor Attorney General Pam Bondi with a Bald Eagle release due to her consistent action as a member of the Cabinet to assure purchase of conservation easements on ranchland in the Kissimmee River Watershed.

The Kissimmee watershed is the stronghold of Florida’s Bald Eagle populations. The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program operated by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services purchases conservation easements over ranchlands, preventing them from ever being developed. Attorney General Bondi has consistently acted to vote favorably on these conservation easement purchases.

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey treats more than 700 patients annually with 12% being Bald Eagles.

U.S. Representative Dan Webster Eagle Release

posted on January 12, 2015 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

Webster Release 1On December 23, U.S. Representative Dan Webster of Orlando joined the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in the release of the 495th Bald Eagle that has been rescued and rehabilitated by the Center. Congressman Webster was handed the Eagle by Diana Flynt of our Birds of Prey Center Staff and tossed the Eagle into the air for its return to freedom in the wild. Rep. Webster has been a strong supporter in Congress of Everglades Restoration projects recommended by Audubon.

The 495th Eagle was released by Rep. Webster at Hal Scott Preserve in eastern Orange County. Hal Scott Preserve is named for the late Hal Scott, former President and Executive Director of the Florida Audubon Society.

Life as an Education Intern at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

posted on July 11, 2014 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

Rosemary JensenThe Audubon Center for Birds of Prey is a wonderful place. The volunteers, interns, and staff play an integral role in the health of Florida’s raptors, returning dozens of birds each year to our skies. The following is a blog post from the Center’s new education intern, Rosemary Jensen. We don’t doubt you will enjoy learning how the Center is changing the way she looks at Florida’s wildlife. Enjoy!

From presentations to conversations, I have learned so much as the new Education Intern here at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. The staff and volunteer crew have taught me a lot, but I also learned from the guests. From them I have learned about the reintroduction of Osprey in Europe and the story of the two Peregrine Falcons, Scarlet and Rhett. It’s great news to hear that many people have these wild avian neighbors in their backyards or at their schools. It’s even better news to hear how they are helping them or how they want to help, especially from the children. For conserving wildlife and their habitats, I feel that education is an important role that many may not know.

It’s about reconnecting people to nature.

On my first day I went on a Bald Eagle release with Matt and Sam J. It was magnificent! I don’t remember how much that eagle went through, but it is still heart lifting to see the eagle fly in the wind gliding towards the forest and lake. I would be so excited and nervous if I was that eagle.

Participating in Raptor Camp has shown me the coordination and planning that takes place behind the scenes. It has also shown all of the effort that we put into the day to day production of Camp. It’s fun showing the children what nature has to offer and teaching them about birds of prey. The most satisfying part is seeing the light bulb go off and see them further their quest for knowledge. Thanks to raptor camp and the staff, I have learned more in depth about the resident non-releasable birds. During lunch each day a couple of campers and I have quizzed each other on the birds.

I have learned more about how the Center rehabilitates the patients as well. Each bird has it’s own personality. It may sound obvious, but it still goes unnoticed. Since I have been volunteering here for almost a year, I have gotten to know the residents not only by their story, but their own individual personality. I am still learning and I feel that is a whole new learning experience in itself.

Eagle Scouts Make Big Impact at Audubon’s Center for Birds of Prey

posted on March 20, 2014 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

Christopher BondAudubon Florida’s Center for Birds of Prey opened its newest education exhibit March 1 with the help of a local, dedicated Eagle Scout and his father. Christopher Bond, an Eagle Scout based out of the Orlando area, created an interactive Atlantic Flyway exhibit for the center, with help from his father.

The Bald Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon, the Swallow-tailed Kite, and the Osprey are represented on a flyway map, with each raptor’s migratory patterns illuminating upon pushing its corresponding button. Truly a family effort, Christopher’s older brother Andrew, who is now in college for computer science, helped his brother by doing graphic additions to the Atlantic Flyway map. Their father lent his electrical engineering expertise to the young men to install the LED lighting on the map. The whole exhibit took the Bond family approximately 96 hours to complete.

Audubon President David Yarnold checks out the new exhibit. Christopher solicited donations from family, friends, and the community in order to complete the exhibit, which was his final Eagle Scout Project. During David Yarnold’s, President and CEO of National Audubon Society, recent visit to Audubon Florida, he commented on the great exhibit, and how Christopher is an excellent example of a young man embracing Audubon’s strategic focus of building future stewards. When asked by an Audubon staff member who inspired him for this project, Christopher replied with, “You did.” The Center staff are excited that the exhibit can educate and inspire people about the flyways and birds of prey that migrate along them.

More than 50 projects have been completed at Audubon Center for Prey by Eagle Scouts as their contribution to the Central Florida community before their final review as Eagle Scout rank.  These projects range from exhibits such as the Flyways exhibit to building nest boxes for screech owls.  The Center has great respect for these young men, who are helping to benefit raptors and their habitats and supporting Audubon’s mission.

To see Christopher’s hard work and The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey’s newest exhibit, center visitation is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM in Maitland, Florida.


SeaWorld San Diego’s Todd Glazebrook Immerses Himself at Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

posted on November 25, 2013 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

Todd GlazebrookTodd Glazebrook, Senior Trainer in the Bird Department at SeaWorld San Diego, reports on his time spent learning from staff at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida. Read his second report below:

It has been my great pleasure to represent the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund as an ambassador in our partnership with the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey over the past two weeks.  The time has flown by and yet I cannot remember what it was like to not feel personally connected to this place and the impact it makes.  This week I was completely immersed in the business of the center, helping in the clinic with critical care birds as well as shadowing educational presentations, learning how to handle permanent collection birds, and working with the staff and volunteers to do maintenance projects and build needed equipment.  The dedicated staff and amazing volunteers are an inspiration and a compelling reminder of what people can do when they truly care.

One of my favorite experiences has been following the case of and injured eagle from intake to flight enclosure.  I was fortunate to hold a young male Bald Eagle upon intake to the clinic. This bird has physical damage from being shot, including fragments of ammunition still visible on x-ray in his wing.  He is one of the lucky ones because he has a fighting chance to recover and be released with the excellent care he is receiving right now at the center.  Moving this bird from the clinic to a recovery flight was a highlight for me since I was able to be a part of his recovery and watch him exercise his wings as the next step in his rehabilitation.  I invite everyone to participate by watching this eagle or others like him on the web cam.

Finally, late this week, I was able to follow some volunteers as they checked an active eagle nest in a suburban neighborhood north of town. It was then that I really understood the far reaching influence of the center and the good people of Audubon. We came upon a nest extremely close to homes where the residents see the eagles as a point of pride, a relationship fostered by the kind education of a team of well managed volunteers.  The nest in question is perennially active but was empty as we talked to neighbors about the birds.  As dusk settled, imagine how thrilled I was to witness the return of a beautiful female Bald Eagle to the nest with a stick in her talons for a bit of home improvement. She tended to the nest a moment and then flew off to a roosting perch and called loudly, letting everyone know she belonged there.  This experience really summed up my impression of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. Their mission is simple and effective…protect the wild birds of Florida and beyond. I am a part of that mission too.

– Todd Glazebrook, Senior Trainer, Bird Dept. SeaWorld San Diego

You can read Todd’s first entry by clicking here.

SeaWorld San Diego’s Todd Glazebrook Learns at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

posted on November 13, 2013 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

toddglazebrook_cbopTodd Glazebrook, Senior Trainer in the Bird Department at SeaWorld San Diego, reports on his time spent learning from staff at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida. Read his report below:

What an amazing first week I have spent at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey.  I really did not know what to expect after coming all the way from SeaWorld in San Diego.  Although I have participated in raptor training and handling as well as years of wildlife rehabilitation at SeaWorld, I have spent the first five days at the center overwhelmed by the huge number of learning opportunities.

I have never met a more dedicated, caring, and skilled staff as this and have been so welcomed that I already feel like a part of the family. In addition to learning from the wealth of expertise, I have helped create and install perches for the birds, taught the staff how to make nylon jesses (a type of falconry equipment for permanent collection birds), handled and held birds for medical procedures, and even administered life preserving care to critical rehabilitation cases.

Each day I am excited to get to work and get my hands dirty and I can’t wait to see what will happen next week!

Duke Energy Visits the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

posted on June 25, 2013 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

The DSC_0020ediAudubon Center for Birds of Prey hosted Alex Glenn, the new president of Duke Energy’s utility operations in Florida, for a brief visit on Wednesday June 19.  Mr. Glenn is responsible for advancing the company’s rate and regulatory initiatives and managing state and local regulatory and governmental relations, economic development and community affairs.

Mr. Glenn visited with Audubon Florida’s Executive Director, Eric Draper and Program Manger Katie Warner to talk about Audubon Florida and the Center for Birds of Prey programs and initiatives.  Duke Energy, a supporter of Audubon Florida, currently funds the Center’s Eagle Eyes on the Environment education project.  Using the iconic Bald Eagle as symbol for a healthy environment, Eagle Eyes on the Environment connects both the rehabilitation of Bald Eagles and other birds of prey with the Center’s educational programs.  This educational program focuses on the theme of the W.E.B. of Life: Water, Energy and Birds are All Connected.

DSC_0008ediMr. Glenn got the opportunity to visit with several of our campers, who were attending Raptor Camp. Students shared their experiences with Glenn and talked about the different raptor species they had met that day and the importance of reducing water use and conserving energy.  Duke Energy also is a sponsor for the Center’s camps this summer.  Immediately after the tour, Eric Draper and Katie Warner joined Alex for his presentation and a lunch at the Maitland Chamber of Commerce.

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey Receives Grant in Support of Eagle Rehabilitation

posted on May 21, 2013 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

SeaWorldVisitIt felt like a homecoming when staff members from SeaWorld-Orlando, Busch Gardens-Tampa and Busch Gardens-Williamsburg visited the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and several of our eagles.

Three Bald Eagles, which were unable to be released, were transferred to Busch-Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia last week for their new eagle exhibit.  Two adults and one juvenile are now residing at the over 100 acre Busch-Gardens theme park.

“All three Bald Eagles are eating well and appear to have settled in nicely as they continue to explore their new home,” states Jay Tacey, Manager of Zoological Ops at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.


Each of these birds were admitted to the Center’s Raptor Trauma clinic at the end of 2012 with injuries that prevented them from being released.  They will now serve as education ambassadors for Busch-Gardens.  The Center places many of our non-releasable birds around the country with zoos and other organization for use in education and exhibits. The Center has placed several Bald Eagles and one Crested Caracara at SeaWorld parks in Orlando and Tampa, which are now part of their conservation programs.  SeaWorld’s Tampa and Orlando team spent some additional time meeting and assessing two non-releasable young Bald Eagles as possible ambassador birds for the Conservation Fund in California.

swbgcf 001

Earlier this week, the Center was excited to announce a $20,000 grant from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund! The Conservation Fund has been supporting Audubon Center for Birds of Prey since 2004, when the fund began.  This grant supports the Center’s Eagle Rehabilitation programs.

Thank you to our partners and supporters from SeaWorld. 


A Team Effort to Save Bald Eagles

posted on April 11, 2013 in Birds of Prey Ctr.,Wildlife

Bald Eagle by RJ Wiley

On Tuesday evening April 9, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey Raptor Technician Beth Lott received a call from one of the Center’s Senior Volunteers in Volusia County:  “An eagle needs help on Interstate 4, can you help?” Not something we ever like to hear. 

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey is dedicated to the rescue, medical care, and treatment, rehabilitation and release for Florida’s birds of Prey.  Each year, the team sees more than 600 patients come through the Raptor Trauma Clinic.  Approximately 10% are Bald Eagles, however the past two years have increased that average.  For 2013, the Center has admitted 48 Bald Eagles (total for 2012 was 65).  Twelve Bald Eagles have been returned to the wild, four of which were fledges from this season, along with the pre-fledge eaglet from Merritt Island NWR.

We depend on volunteers, wildlife officers, and concerned citizens to get these birds help.  Birds of prey are dangerous to rescue, however many dedicated individuals call the Center for guidance on getting these birds to our facility.  The leading injuries include vehicle strikes, electrocutions, falls from nests, and territory fights.  Our team works hard to treat each patient with the goal of getting them back into the wild.

Dr Hess and a Bald Eagle on 6.15.12Sam Little, the Center’s Raptor Veterinary Technician, traveled after work hours to help rescue the eagle on I-4, which we found out had been hit by a car.  When she arrived, a concerned citizen and wildlife officer were at the scene. Audubon staff then met back at Center for Birds of Prey to evaluate the bird.

Part of our work includes placing non-releasable birds of prey (including Bald Eagles) in other properly licensed facilities to be used as education ambassadors. Audubon is committed to providing a good quality of life for these birds. While our team has had incredible results over the years, medical treatment and rehabilitation do not always work. In this unfortunate case, the Bald Eagle’s injuries were too severe to deem it a candidate for an education bird. Sadly, the majestic bird had to put down.

Through the dedication of staff, volunteers, wildlife officers, and the public, hundreds of birds of prey are saved and released back into the wild each year.  Through education, conservation and preservation of important habitats Floridians are lucky to be able to see these magnificent species soaring above many of Florida’s special places.

Thank you to our remarkable staff and dedicated volunteers for your support. We owe our success to you.

Please click here for more information from WKMG Local 6.

U.S. Representative John Mica Visits the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

posted on November 13, 2012 in Birds of Prey Ctr.

U.S. Representative John Mica (R-FL 7th District), fresh from his reelection to Congress, spent part of Monday morning visiting the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland to learn about the facility. First elected to Congress in Central Florida in 1992, Rep. Mica ran for reelection in a district with new boundaries that now include our wonderful Center.

During his visit, Rep. Mica observed veterinary procedures being performed on a Barred Owl and Great Horned Owl in the Center’s clinic, and saw Bald Eagles being rehabilitated for release in the Center’s 100′ flight cage.

Founded in 1979 in Maitland, FL, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey has treated over 16,500 injured or orphaned birds of prey (raptors), releasing more than 40% of these former patients back into the wild. The Center handles the largest volume of eagles, owls, falcons, hawks, and kites east of the Mississippi River–averaging more than 650 admissions, or injured or orphaned birds of prey, each year—and is a leader among all North American rehabilitation centers for specialized eagle care.

The Center has now released 452 rehabilitated Bald Eagles to the wild, and serves as an education center reaching over 30,000 school children annually.

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