In late July I headed out to the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay in Brandon to transport some critters to a rehabber in St. Pete. Penny lives down in south St. Pete and helps with the over flow of critters. She rehabs and has a team that releases them. In the back of my car I had 4 baby mockingbirds, a baby woodpecker, a box of baby opossums and juvenile osprey.
A week later the call went out for a transport that would be double stops from Brandon to areas near Orlando. One of the critters was a swallow tail kite. He had an injured wing and the best place for him to get better was at the Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka, not quite 2 hours east of Brandon. They have huge flight barns that he could fly around in to build back up his muscles. I never thought I would have a swallow tail kite in my car!
A baby kestrel was also going to the Avian Center.
But first I had to stop in Mt Dora, almost 2 hours northeast of Brandon ( and then 20 minutes to Apopka from there). A baby racoon and a box of 10 squirrels (all different ages) were going to the Wright Rescue Ranch. There were so many baby squirrels getting separated from their Mom’s that the rescue ranch is taking them in to help them grow up before they are released. We had a heating gel pad in the box to keep them warm on the trip. Many of the babies didn’t have fur yet and get cold quickly. I love the way they all cuddle together.
Since the trip would be a little long, Nancy fed the littlest one before I left. He was so cute holding it with his little feet.
I stopped halfway to swap out the heated gel pad for a hot one and they all woke up. The bigger ones started climbing around so I had to be quick and swap out the pad.
I got to the Avian Reconditioning Center much earlier than my last trip so I took a few minutes and got out and walked around. You can see some of the big flight barns in the back.
The center houses a handful of permanently injured birds and the volunteers were out sitting with them. One of the volunteers was holding a red tailed hawk. It looked like they were having a serious conversation.
There were 2 owls sitting out. The barred owl in front was missing an eye. The great horned owl in back had a wing injury and they both are great surrogate parents to lost babies that come to the center.
I walked around the back of the tree and saw the eagle sitting farther away.
He couldn’t see out of one eye and tilted his head to look at me. I stayed pretty far back and these are all cropped up shots with my phone. It was finally time to make the 2 and half hour trip back home but it was nice to spend some time with these guys.