For those who don’t know about the Ojai Raptor Center, run by long-time Patagonia employee Kim Stroud, you should check it out in person or online at www.ojairaptorcenter.org I recently visited the center behind Kim’s home and was amazed at the work she’s doing for orphaned and injured birds of prey.
When I first heard mention of the ORC, I thought it was some sort of bird zoo, so was a bit uneasy with the idea. But after seeing the birds and learning about how they got there, I had a totally changed impression. Some of the birds were “imprints”, handled by people when they were young, so could not survive in the wild. Others had injuries from causes ranging from flying into an electric wire to being hit by a paintball...
[Photo: M. Kim Faust; Continue reading for more photos]
Kim and the volunteers at the center help the injured birds heal with the goal of returning them to the wild. The ones who are imprints or permanently injured are cared for and used to educate people about the importance of raptors and their habitat. Many of the birds’ injuries were caused intentionally, so ORC’s work in the classrooms teaching children with live, non-releaseable raptors is invaluable for preventing injuries and protecting habitat in the future. There are few other places nearby where you could see such an array of birds - from eagles and hawks to owls and herons. And the devotion of Kim, who also works full-time at Patagonia, and the volunteers to helping them is incredible. Check it out! And if you are inspired, you can volunteer or donate.
[Photos: Eric Rosen]