Animals can not speak for themselves, therefore someone needs to stand up for them. Enter the Volunteers for Wildlife
, a non-profit hospital for wild animals, funded by donations and supported by the work of volunteers. Their organization was founded in 1982 and is dedicated to preserving Long Island, New York’s wildlife and natural habitats through education and wildlife rehabilitation.
Therese - Eastern Screech Owl
Despite the hospitals best efforts, not all of the patients are able to be released into the wild. For example, "Therese" the Eastern Screech Owl pictured above, has a badly injured right eye after colliding with a building.
"Solomon", the beautiful Barred Owl below was injured in an automobile collision, and suffered from a fractured wing. His wing was surgically repaired by a veterinarian. Although the rehabilitation center had planned to release him after the surgery, it was then discovered that he was blind in his left eye. As owls rely heavily on their keen vision to hunt for prey, he was found to be unsuitable for release to the wild. Although once found on Long Island in large numbers, Barred Owls have been seldom seen here in recent years due to a lack of suitable habitat.
Solomon - Barred Owl
There are also birds that have been imprinted by humans, and have never learned to hunt, or fend for themselves. Taylor the Red Tailed Hawk is one such example. He was confiscated by the Department of Environmental Conservation from a citizen who intended to illegally keep him captive. A trial ensued, and the DEC requested he remain at their center. He could not be released to the wild because he had become too accustomed to humans.
Taylor - Red Tailed Hawk
Animals who can not be released into the wild are used in educational programs to help bring more awareness to the public. The cost of care for each of their permanent education animals ranges from $30 - $150 per year, and some animals may live as long as 50 years! To help, you can choose to sponsor one of their permanent animals. Wildlife sponsorships can also be given as gifts! Recipients will receive a card, certificate, and photo of the animal sponsored. For more information, click here
to download a sponsorship brochure.
Pictured above: Marcus is a Great Horned Owl who was brought to the hospital in 2003 when he was about 2 years old. He had flown into fishing line that was put up in a marina to deter gulls, and became entangled. A quick-thinking citizen with a medical background was able to stabilize him and get him to the wildlife hospital. Though he did not sustain any fractures, permanent tendon and muscle damage will prevent him from being able to hunt successfully on his own in the wild.
Orlando - Eastern Screech Owl illegally hand raised and imprinted by humans.