American Kestrels are the smallest falcons in North America and the only falcons which live year round in Florida. Katie and her three sisters were found on the ground after their nest tree had collapsed. Because they were fed and cared for by people at a very young age, they imprinted on humans and developed different behaviors than a wild kestrel would have. This makes it impossible for them to get along with their own kind. Since they don't have the natural instincts they need to survive in the wild, they must remain in captivity.
Katie is 9 years old, and has been with us since she was 5 weeks old. Her sister, Priscilla, lives at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida, and her sister, Callie, lives at the Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka, Florida. The fourth sister lives at a sanctuary in Georgia.
Mr. Frodo Eastern Screech Owl
This is Mr. Frodo, an Eastern Screech Owl. Just before he was old enough to fly, he fell out of his nest and landed on his head. He was found in the middle of a concrete driveway and was almost run over! The injuries from the fall left him with permanent damage to his left eye and ear.
Since owls depend on their binocular vision and keen hearing to locate their prey, they need both eyes and ears in order to be a successful hunter. If released into the wild, Mr. Frodo would have a very hard time overcoming that handicap and probably wouldn't survive for very long.
So now, Mr. Frodo lives with Katie Kestrel in a very large flight cage, where they are very happy together, sharing perches and food. This would not be normal behavior in the wild, but these two have never known anything else and they have become very good friends!
Mr. Frodo is 7 yrs old and will probably live to be about 12 yrs old. He has great camouflage, doesn't he?
Tomahawk Red Shouldered Hawk
Tomahawk was only 3 days old when a bulldozer knocked over his nest tree. A wildlife officer rescued all three chicks and two days later they were returned to an artificial nest nearby and the anxious parents returned to feed the chicks within 15 minutes. Several days later, Tomahawk was found on the ground below the nest and had to spend several weeks in rehabilitation until his legs were strong enough to stand. Somehow during this time in rehabilitation, he imprinted on humans and therefore cannot be released to the wild.
Tomahawk is 4 years old and has been trained to sit nice on the glove, and bow to the audience when he is through with his program. His favorite thing is flight time with Miss Gina, when he gets to fly to the glove for his dinner.
Miko Barred Owl
Meet our newest ambassador, Miko, a young barred owl, who was found as a nestling, only about 4 weeks old. She had two toes on her left foot that were very infected and had to be amputated to save her life. There is no explanation for how she was injured. Raptors catch all their food with their strong feet and sharp talons and having only one good foot would be a huge handicap for a young owl to overcome, She was raised in the clinic at Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and is a very gentle bird with a great personality. The Barred Owl is sometimes known as the "Who Cooks For You" owl because of their very unique call. Miko is now 2 years old!
Ms. Gina Holt Educator
Gina was born and raised in Florida, and has always loved this beautiful and fragile State. A long time member of the National Audubon Society, she is involved in advocacy, having the opportunity to lobby in Washington, DC and at the local level, always outspoken against the over development we are seeing everywhere in our state.
Gina has been involved in bird rescue and rehabilitation for almost a decade, and fell in love with raptors when she had the opportunity to visit Audubon's Center for Birds of Prey, a rehabilitation center in Maitland, Florida. She began volunteering every week, learning about the biology and natural history of Florida's birds of prey, and trained to be a docent leading tours and presenting off-site programs. She has been trained to assist in all phases of rehabilitation, including working in the clinic with critically injured birds, and learning rehab and conditioning techniques prior to release, and has had the pleasure of releasing dozens of raptors back into the wild, including at least 5 Bald Eagles. Because of her experience, she has worked for Audubon as clinic staff and as an Educator and Volunteer Coordinator with the Center.
She is currently "Mom" to two parrots and six chickens, as well as four raptors, and takes one of the parrots on her programs occasionally.
Here she is pictured with an osprey that was rescued by the Port Orange Fire Department, and the Animal Control Officer who found the bird hanging upside down and entangled in fishing line. After being untangled from over 20 feet of line, the osprey was released unharmed and the line was removed from the tree.