Earl the Turkey Vulture has the Taj Mahal of enclosures: a big, airy crib where dinner is hand-delivered because she never learned to find carrion in the wild. Lucy the Peregrine Falcon ran into something at CVG; she’s alive, but she’ll never dive-bomb a pigeon dinner again. Spencer the Barred Owl injured an eye and seems to be a bit deaf, too. No way he could find a field mouse in a pile of leaves.
So they’re all residents of Raptor Inc. The Milford-based nonprofit rescues injured birds of prey, rehabilitates them, and returns them to the wild whenever possible. Those that can’t make it on their own frequently join the group’s avian ambassadors, visiting schools, nature centers, scout troops, and such, carrying the message that raptors are a vital part of the ecosystem. People readily respond to these birds, says executive director Cindy Alverson. “Kids just stare at them.” Although some raptors require a bit more salesmanship. Vultures, she points out, are nature’s garbage men; they clean up diseased flesh. “And when the sun shines on the back feathers, it’s iridescent blue.” Earl’s got great PR.