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Public invited to Turkey Vulture release

Posted by thunsdorfer at Jun 28, 2013 11:15 AM |
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June 28, 2013: This April, a Turkey Vulture with a gunshot wound was found on a roadside in Hillsboro, and after a lengthy stay in the Wildlife Care Center, the scavenger is ready to head back into the wild. Audubon staff will release the bird at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m., and you're invited to attend!

Public invited to Turkey Vulture release

Turkey Vulture in Audubon’s large outdoor flight cage - Joe Chapman

This April, a Turkey Vulture with a gunshot wound was found on a roadside in Hillsboro, and after a lengthy stay in the Wildlife Care Center, the scavenger is ready to head back into the wild. Audubon staff will release the bird at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m., and you're invited!

“The vulture has bounced back from some pretty serious injuries,” said Portland Audubon veterinarian Deb Sheaffer. “Our initial exam of the bird revealed abrasions on its head, missing tail feathers and a fractured right femur, and a subsequent X-ray showed bullet fragments in the bird’s right wing and lower back.”

Turkey Vulture exam - Lacy Campbell
A turkey vulture with a gunshot wound receives an exam soon after its intake at Audubon’s Wildlife Care Center. Photo by Lacy Campbell.

It took the Turkey Vulture several weeks to heal from these injuries, but we were able to transfer the bird to a large outdoor flight cage by early May. This gave the bird plenty of time to rebuild its flight muscles and increase its stamina before returning to the wild.

A big thank-you goes out to the other organizations that have pitched in to help the vulture recover. It was found after the care center had closed for the day, so Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital took the bird in for a night. Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is now providing a release site that is well-suited to the vulture’s needs.

“The refuge is located near where the bird was found, and it provides good habitat for Turkey Vultures,” said Lacy Campbell, Wildlife Care Center operations manager. “This will be a good spot for the bird to continue to build its strength in preparation for its fall migration.”

Turkey Vultures are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Illegal shooting of protected species is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,500 fine.

“Turkey Vultures are very cool birds that clean our environment and cause no harm," said Portland Audubon conservation director Bob Sallinger. “It is pathetic that somebody would go out and intentionally shoot one of these birds.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon state police are investigating the Turkey Vulture’s case.

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