Avian Medical Clinic. More than 500 hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, vultures and other birds of prey and shorebirds are admitted to the Center's Avian Medical Clinic each year. The majority of injuries are due to some type of human interaction. The Avian Medical Clinic also provides the most advanced level of care for hundreds of injured or orphaned birds each year so that each bird has the best possible chance of being released back into its natural habitat.
The professional medical treatment of injured birds is a source of incomparable insight into critical environmental issues. The Avian Medical Clinic includes emergency and critical patient care, diagnostic X-ray and laboratory facilities, complete surgical capabilities, custom-designed recovery enclosures and flight pens for recovering birds. The insight obtained from treating injured birds is invaluable in helping us address the consequences of pressures on our ecosystem.
Each year, Volunteer Staff members contribute more than 13,000 hours to enable the Center to fulfill its mission. The Volunteer Staff also includes an exceptionally capable team of veterinarians who donate their time and expertise.
Oiled Bird Treatment Facility. The only one of its kind on the East Coast, the 7,000 square-foot Oiled Bird Treatment Facility is designed and equipped to provide the most efficient response possible in the event of a contaminant spill affecting native bird populations and their breeding habitats along the South Atlantic coast.
Along with its principal objective of serving a substantial portion of the South Atlantic coastal region in the event of a contaminant spill emergency, the Center plays a vital role in creating ongoing awareness of the ecological impacts of a spill and the proactive measures available to reduce the likelihood of such an event. The facility is also used as a training facility for personnel involved in contaminant spill response activities.
Education. Understanding that the most environmentally responsible public is that which is most informed, the Center is pioneering new programs on birds and their significance in ecosystem protection. On-site and off-site educational programs include standards-based instruction for elementary, intermediate and high school students. Additionally, particular emphasis has been placed on developing multi-disciplined higher education instruction and internships. Instruction and training is also available for educators, scholars, natural resource professionals, veterinarians and other professionals.
Research/Conservation. In concert with its medical and educational programs, the Center conducts research and field studies related to the conservation and protection of wild bird populations and their habitats. Examples include an annual Coastal Hawk Migration Survey, post-release radio telemetry, a long-term Swallow-tailed Kite study, and participation in cooperative investigations concerning avian genetics, biomedicine and associated topics. A citizen-science approach to a number of research initiatives raises awareness about ecological issues, educates participants about species of concern and their associated habitats, and allows the public to become engaged contributors to wildlife conservation. The Center maintains research associations with universities and professional conservation organizations throughout the United States and abroad, including the Hawk Migration Association of North America, the Raptor Research Foundation and the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Captive Breeding & Management. Captive breeding has become an increasingly powerful tool for sustaining captive bird populations. The ability to provide captive-bred birds for possible release into suitable habitat has restored and literally saved some species, the Peregrine Falcon in North America being the classic example. Refining methods for predictable captive breeding success and sound husbandry and management practices serves a worldwide need in species conservation.