Our Wings of Wonder Ambassador Family
Golda |Golden Eagle
Golda is a Golden Eagle who became a member of our ambassador educational family in June of 2011. She was hatched in the wilds of Colorado in 1992 and in the late summer was found trying to break into a chicken coop. She was very thin and emaciated and was admitted to a raptor rehabilitation center where she was soon diagnosed with a congenital feather deformity. This deformity prevents her from ever flying. She was soon transferred to the Reptile Gardens in South Dakota where she lived for her first 5 years. According to old records, things did not work out and she was transferred to a science center in northern Michigan. She was used in educational presentations for the next 15 years. Unfortunately, over those years the center did not employ trained or professional raptor caretakers and the raptors, including Golda, were mistreated and neglected. In early June of 2011 all of the raptors were removed from this center and were admitted to Wings of Wonder for immediate medical care.
Golda was one of the surviving raptors and will now spend the rest of her life at Wings of Wonder. We have pledged to provide her with a safe and comfortable home forever. Golda is showing us that she loves her new home. She has become the 'chatty' member of our WOW family and seems to enjoy vocalizing at, and to, everyone. She calls out to the geese and ducks on the lake, she calls out to me when she hears my voice, she answers to the hooting from Eoin and Sage (our resident Great Horned Owls) and she 'sings' when the coyotes start their howls at night. She has found joy in bathing and loves to be gently spray misted with the hose on warm summer days. She loves to shred stuffed animals, old phone books, cardboard egg cartons and heads of cabbage.
Golden Eagles are commonly found in western North America and are one of our largest birds of prey with an average wingspan of 7 1/2 feet and a weight of about 14 pounds. They are the national emblem of Mexico. Because they prey upon mammals, we have secured high quality meats for Golda. She is fed quail, rodent, chicken and the local county 4H rabbit breeders are donating superior rabbit meat. Her health and feather condition are rapidly improving and her personality is blossoming. Golda is a welcomed and valued member of our educational family! Sponsor Golda
Golda's Photo Gallery
Rita Mae | Peregrine Falcon
The scientific name comes from the Latin words falco, meaning hook-shaped and may refer to the beak or talons, and peregrinus, meaning to wander as these birds are highly migrational. Peregrines have also been called Duck Hawk, Great-footed Hawk, and Wandering Falcon.
The peregrine falcon is the largest of the 3 falcons native to Michigan. With an adult body length of 15-20 inches and a 3 1/2 foot wingspan this is the fastest animal in the world. Recently a peregrine was clocked at diving nearly 280 miles per hour out of the sky. This falcon is found on every continent except Antarctica, and lives in a wide variety of habitats from the tropics and deserts to the tundra. Their primary diet consists of birds such as starlings, pigeons, blackbirds, jays, and waterfowl, but they have also been known to hunt small mammals as well.
Rita Mae is a sweet peregrine falcon who became part of our Wings of Wonder ambassador family in 2011. She was one of 4 chicks hatched in Muskegon and shortly after being banded by the state biologist she was stolen illegally from her nest. About 3 1/2 months later she was found dumped in Grand Rapids. The finders rescued her and delivered her to Wings of Wonder.
She was in extremely poor health and condition. It was quite obvious that she had been raised in a small wire cage. The wire had completely shredded her long wing and tail feathers. She had horrible infections on her face and both feet. Her wrists were also scabbed over and she was severely emaciated. She was a mess. Over the next couple of months she was successfully rehabilitated here at WOW but her journey had truly only begun.
Rita Mae did not know how to fly and live her life as a peregrine. I received permission to loan her out to a licensed falconer for further hunt training and conditioning. The falconer had Rita Mae for about 13 months. Unfortunately she failed all of her tests and was returned to Wings of Wonder in December 2012. Rita Mae is so extremely handicapped...she just can not survive life out in the wild. She will live out her life being pampered here at Wings of Wonder.Sponsor Rita Mae
Rita Mae's Photo Gallery
Doolin | Turkey Vulture
Doolin is a young turkey vulture hatched in Louisville, Kentucky in 2008. He was illegally taken out the wild by humans and raised as a pet. Unfortunately, before he could be removed from this illegal situation, he bonded to the human caretakers. He is now considered a ‘Human-imprinted” raptor, which means he has no fear of humans and can never be released back into the wild.
Doolin is a playful and curious vulture. He seems to enjoy playing with toys, flying in our 100 foot aviary, dancing under the sprinkler during hot weather, and meeting people at our many educational presentations. We call him our “Wings of Wonder rock star!” Doolin is fed a diverse diet of fresh rodents, fish, quail, crickets, chicken and beef heart. Sponsor Doolin
Doolin's Photo Gallery
Eoin |Great Horned Owl
Eoin (pronounced Owen) is our young Great Horned Owl who was hatched in the spring of 2009 and orphaned at an early age. As a young baby he, and two other orphaned owlets, were being fostered by our resident Great Horned Owl parents, Sage and Eddie. Shortly after Eoin’s eyes opened, he sustained an injury to his right leg. We think that he was accidently stepped on by one of the other owls and the long bone in his leg was fractured.
It was necessary to remove Eoin from his foster family and get him immediate medical attention. His injury required continual splinting and re-splinting of his leg as well as intensive physical therapy to correct some muscular contractions. Because of some long term problems with that leg, Eoin could not be released back into the wild. His leg is now very strong and he uses it quite normally to hold onto his food and grab a perch during landings. Eoin is fed a rodent diet supplemented with quail, chicken, fish and live crickets at Wings of Wonder. He is a curious boy who enjoys his stuffed animals, branches, pinecones, knotted rags and shredding apart old phone books. Sponsor Eoin
Eoin's Photo Gallery
Pearl | Red Tailed Hawk
Pearl is a Red Tailed Hawk, hatched in 2003. In the fall of that year she was hit by a car near the village of Cedar, Michigan. The car collision ripped out the long wing feathers, called primaries and secondaries, from her left wing. This trauma permanently damaged the feather follicles, preventing the re-growth of any future feathers. Pearl is permanently disabled and can never be released back into the wilds. She is a large and beautiful hawk, with a strong personality and a regal presence. She seems eager about traveling to our many educational presentations and meeting our audiences. Pearl is fed primarily a diet of mice at Wings of Wonder, eating close to 2000 of the little treats each year. She lives in a spacious aviary with a wonderful view of Wells Lake, where she can watch ducks, otters, herons, turtles and a variety of other wildlife. Sponsor Pearl
Pearl's Photo Gallery
Florence | Long-Eared Owl
Florence is a Long-Eared Owl who was hatched in 2012, just north of Cadillac, Michigan. She was found by a logger after her nest tree had been cut down. This little owl was only about a week away from being old enough to fly and the logger felt awful about causing the nest disruption. He immediately delivered the young chick to Wings of Wonder. After a quick exam I was able to assure the logger that he had actually saved this owl’s life. It turned out that Florence had an old injury to her left foot which had caused severe damage to 2 of her toes. She must have gotten her foot snagged inside the nest when she was quite young. In her attempts to free her foot, several toes were broken and, instead of healing, one of the toes actually died. If the logger had not interfered with the nest cycle and this little owl had gotten old enough to fly, she most likely would have starved to death. The dead toe was her hallux, or back toe. This is an extremely important toe for a raptor, helping with successful hunting and perching.
Once Florence was strong enough she was scheduled for surgery to remove the dead toe. Her foot healed quickly and she has adapted quite nicely. According to data collected by the Minnesota Raptor Center raptors can not be released back into the wilds if they are missing or have permanent damage to the hallux. Life out in nature is difficult enough without having a serious disability to their foot.
Florence is now one of the Wings of Wonder ambassador raptors. She delights visitors with her beautiful lemon-yellow irises and her curious facial expressions. She loves to watch the ducks on our pond, the bluebirds and swallows nesting in nearby nest boxes and the raptors in the adjoining aviaries. Florence is such charmer and a wonderful addition to our educational family. She is fed a diet of mice, large insects and occasionally a bit of chicken or quail. Sponsor Florence
Florence's Photo Gallery
Ned | Saw Whet Owl
Ned is a little 7-inch Saw Whet Owl, the smallest species of owl native to Michigan. He came to Wings of Wonder in the fall of 2007, after being hit by a car. The collision left him with a fractured bone in his left wing. The surgery did not work out perfectly and Ned was left with a flight disability. He can get around in his flight enclosure, but can not fly well enough for release. We believe Ned was hatched in the spring of 2007 and will now live a safe and pampered life at Wings of Wonder over the next 15-18 years. Ned is fed primarily a diet of small mice supplemented with live crickets. He is a cute little guy who seems to enjoy staring down our audience members as we continue to educate folks about the importance of habitat conservation and building nest boxes for these small owls. Sponsor Ned
Ned's Photo Gallery
Jaeda | American Kestrel
Jaeda is a female American Kestrel who was hatched in 2007 in Ann Arbor Michigan. While she was still a very young nestling she fell out of the cavity nest and hit the ground about 60 feet below. The fall broke 2 bones in her right wing between her elbow and her wrist. Jaeda’s parents took care of her on the ground but unfortunately the bones did not heal in alignment and she was left with a noticeable wing droop and a permanent flight disability. She is not able to fly fast and strong which are necessary conditions for survival out in the wild. Jaeda was transferred to Wings of Wonder from the River Raisin Raptor Center in Manchester, Michigan where most of her rehabilitation work was done. She will live out the rest of her life at Wings of Wonder as one of our special ambassador birds and may also provide foster care to any in-coming orphaned baby American Kestrels admitted to Wings of Wonder.
Jaeda seems to enjoy traveling to our many educational presentations. She prefers to ride on the head rest of the passenger seat as we travel, looking out the windows and watching the world go by at a fast clip. At Wings of Wonder Jaeda is fed a diet of fresh and frozen mice, day old chicks, bites of quail meat and live crickets. She has a delightful and inquisitive personality that easily charms our many audience members. Sponsor Jaeda
Jaeda's Photo Gallery
Arlo | Eastern Screech Owl
Arlo is a little red Eastern Screech Owl who was hit by a car in 2004. His injuries were very severe and left him with permanent blindness in one eye and damage to the hearing in one of his ears. Arlo’s disabilities prevent him from ever being released back into the wilds. He will spend the rest of his life being pampered here at Wings of Wonder and working as one of our educational ambassadors.
Arlo shares his space with his partner, Gilda, a little gray screech owl. They are often seen perching together and preening each other. Both Gilda and Arlo foster orphaned baby screech owls each year here at Wings of Wonder. Arlo usually does 100% of the child-care while the babies are still tiny and helpless. Gilda helps out once the youngsters are older and about ready to fly. They seem to have worked out their parenting roles and responsibilities and both are amazing foster parents! Arlo is truly a sweet little guy and his good looks really wow the crowds. Sponsor Arlo
Arlo's Photo Gallery
Gilda | Eastern Screech Owl
Gilda is a little gray Eastern Screech Owl. In 2004 she was hit by a car in downtown Honor, Michigan. She sustained a severe head injury which resulted in permanent damage to one of her eyes and to one of her ears. Because Screech Owls rely primarily on their hearing to find their prey, Gilda's permanent disabilities prevent her from ever being released back into the wild. She will spend the rest of her life here at Wings of Wonder, working as one of our ambassador birds while we pamper and spoil her.
She shares her space with her partner Arlo, a little red Screech Owl. They are a devoted and bonded pair and most often are seen perched side by side. Besides being an amabassador raptor here at the Center, Gilda also works as a foster parent to orphaned baby Screech Owls. With help from Arlo, together they nurture the babies and teach them how to hunt live prey and to talk Screech Owl language. These orphaned owlets grow up wild and strong are are able to be released back into the forest. Gilda easily wows the crowds with her cute looks and snappy personality. Sponsor Gilda
Gilda's Photo Gallery