Red-Tailed Hawk (Male)
Our male red-tailed hawk came to us as a juvenile in August 2016. He is imprinted on humans and cannot hunt for himself in the wild because he never learned. He quickly learned to fly to our glove for his food, and we have been working towards flight programs with him. Red-tails can be seen locally often perched on light poles and signs as you are driving down the road. It is the most common raptor in North America with a range from the tundra line all the way to Jamaica. Our guy is located at the Springbrook Nature Center.
Red-Tailed Hawk (Female)
Our female red-tailed hawk was one-year old when she came to us in April 2016 with head trauma due to a window hit. While the rehab facility was able to treat the trauma, she still has some nerve damage that affected her depth perception in her left eye. Due to that ocular issue, she is unable to hunt on her own in the wild. We’re happy to take her out on education programs though as she is one of our most calm birds. If you’ve ever heard a Bald Eagle scream in a movie, that is actually a Red-tail call. It is one of the most recognized calls of all raptors. She can be found at Springbrook Nature Center when she’s not out at a program.
Western Screech Owl (Male)
Our only bird not native to Illinois, the western screech came to us from Washington State as a fully-grown adult in July 2016. Western Screech Owls are native to the US west of the Rocky Mountains. He has a slight wing droop that prevents him flying well due to a prior wing injury. The lack of successful flight means that he would have a lot of difficulty caring for himself in the wild. This guy lives at Springbrook Nature Center.
Barred Owl (Male)
Our barred owl came to us as an imprint in July 2008. As a young owlet, he fell out of his nest. A resident found a cat knocking him around and brought him to a rehabilitation center. During this time away from his nest, he missed leaning valuable survival skills from his owl parents and became imprinted upon people during the rehabilitation process. He lives with us at Springbrook Nature Center.
Great Horned Owl (Female)
Our queen of the skies, the great horned owl is the top of her food chain in this area. Once full grown, there are very few predators that are able to take them down. Fun fact: great horned owls are one of the few predators able to take down a skunk because they cannot smell it. She came to us in 2009 after someone had taken her out of the nest as a baby. Unfortunately, she never learned the life skills to take care of herself. If she had been left alone, she would still be living her life out on the wild. It’s important to always remember to try to let the wildlife be. She can be found at Springbrook Nature Center during public hours.
American Kestrel (Male)
The American Kestrel is the smallest and most common American falcon. It can be found in North and South America, and in between. It is also one of the few sexually dimorphic birds in the raptor world. The males have slightly blue gray wing and head feathers where as the females just have reddish brown coloring. Our male came to us as an adult from Willowbrook Nature Center with a wing injury that impacts his flying. That injury prevents him from being a successful hunter. He’s been with us since around 2009 and can be found at Springbrook Nature Center. You can help kestrels out in the wild be placing nest boxes on your property.
Broad-winged Hawk (Female)
A flock of Broad-winged hawks is one of the most interesting sights of migration. Each year, thousands of broad-wings gather together in what is known as a “kettle” and fly thousands of miles to South America. They generally reside in the interior of the forest. These birds frequently prey upon frogs, toads and small rodents, but may eat birds, invertebrates, and other reptiles should the opportunity arise. Our current resident female came to us in 2017 as an adult two-year old from the Carolina Raptor Center due to a wing injury. They determined that her wing would never heal fully thus preventing her from successfully providing for herself in the wild.
Turkey Vulture (Female)
Turkey vultures are the only resident vulture native to northern Illinois. Typically seen in more rural areas in the warmer months, they migrate south for the winter. Contrary to popular belief, vultures cannot smell when an animal is about to die. They can only smell deceased organisms. They have the best sense of smell of any bird species, able to detect carrion from a mile away. Outside of eagles, the turkey vulture has the largest wingspan of Illinois’ native birds. This individual came to us in 2017 with an eye injury preventing her from being released to the wild. Vultures play a crucial role in the local environment. Their stomach acids are able to kill diseases like rabies and anthrax.
Barn Owl (Unknown)
This Barn Owl joined us in July 2018 and is believed to be a female based on the prominent speckling on her chest (blood tests will later confirm). She was hatched with the goal of educating the public about Barn Owls in the wild. Even though Barn Owls can be found on every continent except Antarctica, they are threatened in Illinois and endangered in several mid-western states. Her role as ambassador will help to us to advocate for her species through public education about protecting their natural habitat and restoring Barn Owls to their native Mid-Western range.