By Debra Garcia
The Osprey Observer’s very own editor-in-chief, Marie Gilmore, had a run-in with a red-shouldered hawk that desperately needed rescuing. Have no fear, the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay, Inc. is here.
It all started when the hawk slammed into Gilmore’s pool screen.
“After four hours of trying, Raptor Center sent their volunteer over within 15 minutes and she picked him up and he flew away,” said Gilmore.
Nancy Murrah, who is the president of the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay, was on the scene.
“The hawk got stuck in her lanai, and we were able to get it out successfully. There was no injuries, so he was able to be released on the spot,” said Murrah.
The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay is a nonprofit organization that is currently building a wildlife rehabilitation facility with a focus on birds of prey. This is where they will rescue, treat and rehabilitate raptors, always with the goal to release them back into the wild.
The organization is made up of volunteers, state and federally permitted rehabbers, educators and conservation advocates.
The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay has been trying to build this facility since 2018 when it bought a piece a land but was not allowed to build on it. No, it is still in search to buy a bigger piece of land in the southern part of Hillsborough County.
In addition to rescuing, raising, rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of birds of prey across Central Florida, the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay also provides transportation and facilitates solutions for non-bird of prey species and deploys rapid response teams to treat and transport the species.
One of the main reasons the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay wants a facility so bad is for the bald eagles. When an eagle is captured, they need to be taken to a flight cage in order to be rehabilitated. Other than the cage in Busch Gardens, the nearest flight cage is over 200 miles away. The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay wants to be able to have their own flight cages so the eagles do not have to travel so far.
It also hosts environmental/nature education teaching events for the general public and works in conjunction with utility companies and corporations to provide solutions for these birds.
For more information on the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay, visit its website at www.raptorcenteroftampa.org.