NeighborhoodsCharlotte - Eaton Rapids

Actions

New enclosure at Wildside Rehabilitation Center helps heal birds of prey, owls and more

Helping animals in need .jpg
Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 2.15.08 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 2.14.34 PM.png
Owl being held .jpg
Helping animals in need heal .jpg
Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center .jpg
Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 15:35:36-05

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — Four Barred Owls are flying around the new 120 feet long 38 feet wide and 20 feet tall flight enclosure at Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center.

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 2.15.08 PM.png
Louise Sagaert, the director of Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center, checks on the owls in the new enclosure.

The goal of Journey's Passage, the new enclosure, is to rehabilitate raptors, birds of prey, hawks, owls, and eagles.

"We've had a lot of rehabilitators retire in the last several years. And Michigan State University closed their wildlife ward, and they did a lot of raptors and eagle rehabilitation. So there has been a need in the Mid-Michigan area for this," said the director of the Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center, Louise Sagaert.

Helping animals in need heal .jpg
Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center

Typically the animals start inside the clinic area and can spend days, weeks, or even months there, depending on their injuries. When they're ready, they go into small cages where they start building muscle. And once the animals are flying successfully in the small cages, eating on their own, and are healthy, they graduate to the eagle flight enclosure.

Owl being held .jpg
A volunteer is holding one of the owls in need of care.

"Their last hope before they go back to the wild. They can spend usually at least weeks; some will spend a much longer time depending on their original injury and how much time they've been in rehabilitation," said Sagaert.

So far, they've had Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Great Horned Owls, and Barred Owls in the enclosure, and they have all graduated and been released back into the wild.

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 2.14.34 PM.png
Journey's Passage

As to why the enclosure is important in helping the animals heal, Sagaert says it's essential for large birds to be pre-conditioned before being released back into the wild.

Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center .jpg
A Bald Eagle is healing at Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center.

"While they're doing their critical rehabilitation time, they're usually just sitting based on their injury's especially the cases we have right now. So it's critical to get them back out into a large area so they can do circles around this cage and actually fly for a length of time and strengthen their wings and strengthen their muscles," said Sagaert.

As for the four Barred Owls, Sagaert says they have come from various locations, and some were hit by cars, and a few were down in people's yards. All of them have recovered and should be released in about a week and a half.

"All four of them came from the west side of the state, so the Grand Rapids area. So they will actually go back to that side of the state to be released," said Sagaert.

Helping animals in need .jpg
Helping animals in need.

When the pandemic settles down, the goal is to invite the public to see Journey's Passage.

Want to see more local news ? Visit the FOX47News Website.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.

Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Cali Montana

Cali Montana

2:27 PM, Jan 20, 2021

Charlotte & Eaton Rapids

Neighborhood Reporter

Cali Montana

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter