Stormwatch

Stormwatch

One Tank Trip: Three Rivers Avian Center

Local - 8/14/2014 5:14 PM by Karen Franklin
BROOKS - A Peregrine Falcon can dive out of the sky at 263 miles an hour, but ever since Perry was hit by a car on Interstate-64, he can't.

"Somebody's driving down the road and a bird swoops in front of them and the inevitable happens sometimes," Wendy Perrone told WOAY. "Some of those we're able to heal up and get them back out there where they belong."

But Perry will have to remain at the Three Rivers Avian Center in Brooks. He's accompanied by several other birds of prey, known as raptors, who also can't return to the wild.

The center treats and rehabs injured non-game birds. 

On Wednesday Ron and Wendy Perrone worked on a Red-shouldered Hawk. A big part of their non-profit is education programs to help people understand that the more healthy an ecosystem is, the better the birds do.

"In the last 20 years we've lost almost 45 percent of the migratory birds that used to fly in our skies," Wendy Perrone said. "So the pressure is on."

The husband and wife pair said it reaches between 18,000 and 25,000 people a year. Some of that also happens at the Brooks rehab facility where resident hawks, owls, falcons and eagles are right in front of your eyes.

"Most of the people have never been that close to a raptor before, and to see them up close is another experience, and a lot of people just fall in love with them even more than they were when they came up here," Wendy Perrone told WOAY.

Regis, a bald eagle, is the youngest resident, but the biggest attraction. The 6-year-old was found in the woods of North Carolina with a wing that healed poorly. The Perrone's said he's perfect for rodent control.

"They do a lot of that," Wendy Perrone said. "They also help with a lot of other stuff we may not want to have. Sometimes there's snakes they'll take out for you, squirrels, the rabbit that's eating your garden. They'll help with that."

The center releases about 50 percent of its incoming birds. The permanent residents are waiting for a visit.

Three Rivers Avian Center is open through October on the first Saturday of every month to ensure the birds can recover. You can visit them on Facebook or call 304-466-4683.

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