The Cascades Raptor Center was a gem. The Center’s primary mission is to provide emergency health care and rehabilitation for raptors in the Central Oregon area. They go to great lengths to restore birds to health and release them back to the wild, and when that is not possible, they provide a safe and comfortable home for birds that are not suitable for release.
The birds at the center (about 60) provide a valuable role in educating people about raptors and their role in the environment. It was heartbreaking to read about birds that had been raised in captivity to be hunting birds then abandoned when the falconer lost interest or things did not go as planned. Other birds might have had better outcomes if people had called the Center earlier. Many of the birds had lost an eye to injury and or infection.
It was fantastic to see so many of these beautiful birds, and to watch the staff interact with them. The aviaries are large and designed for the resident bird — birds that cannot fly well have lots of ramps and ladders to use to navigate to various perches. Each aviary had a place for the resident bird to hang out when they were not feeling social, including boxes for the owls. Every person I spoke with, staffer or volunteer, was clearly engaged in their work and happy to help visitors understand these great birds. If I lived in the Eugen area I would volunteer in a heartbeat.
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend a visit.