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Sonoma County Gazette

The Bird Rescue Center After the Fires

Nov 22, 2017


How did the Bird Rescue Center fare in the fires? Fortunately, ours is a story of bravery and hope.

In the early morning hours of October 9th, our birds – the resident Raptor Ambassadors as well as the birds being treated in our Rehab Hospital – were all evacuated. As high winds howled and flames grew ever closer, the only people driving east on Chanate Road, toward the fire zone, were a handful of determined volunteers and Rehab staff, rushing in to save the birds in our care. Our raptors were quickly boxed and loaded into cars in the smoky darkness, and then moved to a volunteer’s residence in Santa Rosa.

It soon became clear that they needed to be still further away from danger, and shortly after dawn we had relocated them to another house further south in Cotati. The birds being treated in our Rehab Hospital for eventual release were taken in by other wildlife organizations in the region. All the birds arrived safely and in good health. Given the circumstances, this in itself was quite a feat: 18 hungry houseguests.

The next week was a whirlwind of activity. We moved our 18 raptors from evacuation boxes to plastic dog kennels to afford them a bit more room. They were rotated between handlers and perches we set up in the living room, kitchen, dining room and even outside (once air quality permitted) to spread their wings and preen. We prepared their food in the kitchen and made sure every bird got out daily for handling and cleaning. The birds were kept safe and calm, even as we humans nervously tracked the progress of several huge fires ravaging the North Bay.

The situation was far from ideal, but with help we were able to pull off our very first emergency evacuation and sheltering. We even trained some friends and family members how to hold these special birds while we attended to their care and feeding. BRC resumes operations We were relieved and grateful to learn that the Center had survived the fires intact. Everything required extensive cleaning and airing, but our WWII-era Quonset huts will continue to house our operations into the future. Our Raptor Ambassadors were repatriated on October 15, delivered by a small army of volunteers and friends. The Rehab Hospital has reopened and is admitting rescued birds.

We invite you to come by the Center on December 2nd from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, to meet these incredible birds and our dedicated volunteers. Join us to celebrate the tenacity and fortitude of all who make Sonoma County home, and the beauty of our shared lands and wildlife.

The Bird Rescue Center
3430 Chanate Road, Santa Rosa

Our hearts go out to the members of our community who have lost their homes, including at least nine from our BRC family. Together we will return and rise up from the ashes, stronger and more resilient.

Thank you for your continued support!

“I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned.”
Luther Burbank, 1875.


Do you have some extra time on your hands. Why not join our phone team. We are looking for people who can commit to one shift per week for four hours. If you are interested, call the center, (707)523-2473 and ask for MJ for more information.


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