Founded by alumna Louise Shimmel, ’77, the wildlife hospital and educational center is home to dozens of birds of prey.
- By October 10, 2017
- Social Impact
Louise Shimmel, ’77, founded the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon, after realizing that rehabilitating animals was to be her life’s work. In its 30 years, the center has grown into a wildlife hospital and one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest collections of native birds of prey. More than 50 birds—eagles, hawks, owls, ospreys, vultures, and falcons—live at the center and enthrall the more than 30,000 guests who visit each year.
Meet some of the center’s birds in the photo gallery below, and learn more about how Shimmel uses her Booth training to make a difference in the nonprofit world in Soar Winner.
A baby owl sits on a staff member’s hand at the center's rehabilitation hospital, which will treat more than 300 sick or injured birds of prey this year.
Celilo is one of four resident bald eagles, and arrived at the center in 2010. Four hundred people participated in a contest to choose her name—the winning entry, Celilo, is the name of a historic Native American settlement along the Columbia River. The center reports that she is “an enthusiastic participant” in her training sessions, and always heads to her bath to clean her beak and talons after a job well done.
Lorax, a great horned owl, was only three weeks old when she was found suffering from broken bones because of a fall from a high nest. Because she was so young when she arrived at the center, Lorax has become well socialized with people and is an important part of their education team—when she’s not playing with toys inside her enclosure, that is.
A staff member releases an osprey back into the wild. The numbers of ospreys plummeted in the 20th century because of DDT, but they are making a comeback following a ban on the chemical along with efforts to create artificial nest sites and reintroduction programs. Ospreys are still listed in 12 states as endangered, threatened, or a species of special conservation concern.
A staff member holds a kestrel about to be released. The American Kestrel is the most common and widespread falcon in North America.
Shimmel is seen here with Eowyn, a ferruginous hawk. Eowyn was hatched in captivity, and as such, is very socialized to people. Her presence at the center gives visitors an up-close glimpse of a large and elusive species of hawk that is difficult to observe in the wild. When not pitching in as part of the center's education team, Eowyn’s favorite activity is enjoying a cool mist shower from one of her human coworkers.
Barn owls have a distinctive appearance, with their white, heart-shaped face, long legs, and small, dark eyes. The shape of their feathered facial disc actually helps the owl hunt by sound alone, enabling it to find prey in the dark or in tall grass. The center is home to many different kinds of owls, including these barn owls.
A red-tailed hawk flies across its enclosure at the raptor center. These birds can grow to have a four-foot wingspan and are most commonly seen soaring through the air, with their wings held in a broad U-shape. The center is home to three red-tailed hawks.
Uriel, pictured here, is one of the center's three red-tailed hawks, along with Banjo and Edison. Uriel was starving and had suffered a laceration to her wing, likely from barbed wire, when she was found in 1996 and brought to the center to be rehabilitated. The medical team was able to restore some of the soft tissue around her injury, but she was left unable to fly and joined the center's education team. She is known as an expert nest-builder, and happily takes any branch or twig offered to her.
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