Wild Wings to the Rescue!

WW-01-Birds-of-Prey

At SR Scales, we manufacture a variety of medical scales for hospitals, long term care centers, and other medical applications requiring accurate weight data. In addition, we provide veterinarian and zoological scales for most every type of animal. Our vet scales can weigh some of the smallest animals and our zoo scales can handle some of the largest. (See our video on weighing elephants: http://bit.ly/SR-Scales-SRV714-E.)

Recently we learned of a local wildlife rescue center called Wild Wings, located in the greater Rochester, NY region. This rescue center specializes in helping and sheltering permanently injured birds of prey which are unable to survive on their own in the wild.

Since 1995, this wild life sanctuary has been home to a wide range of raptor residents, from bald eagles, falcons, and hawks, to owls, vultures, and more. These magnificent birds, while naturally suited for the wild, need the dedicated care from the staff at Wild Wings. The birds typically arrive at the location severely injured as a result of any number of incidents, from gunshot and car accidents, to illegal pet trade.

Wild Wings is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and its numerous educational programs to provide primary funding. It is staffed with a well-informed and educated team of volunteers that provide care for the birds and the few resident animals at the location, including a bobcat named Tara. Private educational programs and seminars are offered to schools, clubs, and corporations that provide awareness of these birds and environmental conservation.

At a recent Winter Weekend event sponsored by Monroe County (NY), we visited the center and learned about Wild Wings and their facility to support the injured birds of prey. After walking through the facilities, we thought we might be able to provide some assistance to them in the form of several scale donations for their use.

Terry Kozakiewicz is the executive director of Wild Wings, and shared with us about Wild Wings and their mission.

Q: How does Wild Wings get notified of a bird needing assistance? 

Basically we get calls from vets or rehab specialists. Calls can come in from anywhere in the county: Alaska, Wyoming, Virginia, or the Carolina’s. Normally, we’re providing support at the end of a bird’s life. Think of us as the Senior Home for birds. The vets we hear from do the hard work – they work to restore a bird such as an owl or an eagle back to health. And they’ll want to know that afterwards, there’s someone like us to take care of these birds.

We also get local calls to assist on bird rescues where a bird might be caught in fence or tangled in fishing line. We even get some unusual calls for help, such as a bird caught in a Halloween display of a spider web.

How many birds do you typically support at one time?

We average around 28 to 30. We keep it at that due to costs as we only have a limited number of enclosures available. We do network with other licensed animal and bird sanctuaries if we get too crowded and need to provide an alternative source for a bird to reside. We currently have 28 now, but are able to take some additional smaller birds at this time. Spring time is our busy time of year as we get lots of calls. Typically young ones are still learning to fly and sometimes end up hitting buildings or other structures, or simply don’t know how to handle themselves in the wild.

WW-02-G-Eagle1Tell us about the importance of scales at Wild Wings.

Everything is weighed. Not just the birds, but what we feed them as well as what they don’t eat. We need to know it all. So even the food is weighed all the time – portioning is critical to the health of all birds. You just can’t guess on it – you need to know in order to properly maintain a bird’s health. Especially now that it’s winter, we need to make sure that the birds are getting enough to eat to maintain their health in the cold.

How often do you have to weigh the birds?

The birds themselves get weighed once a week. This allows us to better monitor their health. Often birds can mask an illness and look healthy, but weight can tell us whether a bird is healthy or not. In addition to risks of being underweight, overweight birds are not healthy birds, especially since they are on their feet all the time. So we also monitor for foot sores and other health issues.

Why are accurate scales important?

Our scales have to be accurate. The SR Scales allow us to monitor our birds’ health more precisely. When you have birds that weigh so little, you can’t rely on cheap scales that are not accurate. For example, if a small bird loses 30 grams, that’s huge. Standard scales don’t provide the accuracy and small, incremental weighing capabilities that we get with our SR Scales.

Are any of the birds able to return to the wild?

With the types of injuries the birds have, they are unable to return to the wild. Wild Wings is a permanent bird sanctuary. We take care of the birds for as long as they live. Plus, once they get used to their environment here at our sanctuary, they would not be able to successfully take care of themselves, even if they could.

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You can learn more about Wild Wings from their website at www.wildwingsinc.org or if you’re in the Rochester, NY area, you can visit their facilities at 27 Pond Road Honeoye Falls, NY 14472.

SR Scales will be demonstrating these scales and other veterinarian scales in booth number 2642 at the upcoming Western Veterinarian Conference in Las Vegas, NV, from March 6 – 10, 2016. More info on this event can be found at http://www.wvc.org/conference/.