- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

ST MARIES, Idaho (AP) - Dozens of eagles in northern Idaho receive care in a volunteer-run nonprofit designed to promote raptor conservation and stewardship.

The Coeur d’Alene Press (https://bit.ly/1PdsVbJ) reports that Birds of Prey Northwest houses a record amount of golden and bald eagles along with a long list of other birds.

Raptor biologist Janie Veltkamp says that the nonprofit typically sees three to six raptors come through in a year, but this year volunteers have already taken in three at the facility.

“Young eagles have fledged and are getting into trouble, taking their first flights, they’re crashing and burning,” she said.

Birds of Prey is permitted through the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service. Birds are allowed to be at the facility for educational purposes, rehabilitation or falconry.

Roughly half of the raptors at the facility return to the wild, pending if they survive their injuries from poisoning or falls. Those that don’t make a full recovery become long-term residents at the facility.

Veltkamp is working to improve the health of a bald eagle named B.B., who is underweight after being beaten up by a pair of nesting bald eagles and left grounded to starve. He weighs 6 pounds, even though he should weigh 10 pounds. The biologist, who is also executive director of the facility, expects B.B. to make a full recovery.

A key element of facility’s work is involved in education programs, said Don Veltkamp, Janie’s husband who also works at Birds of Prey.

Exposing children to birds at an early age helps teach the importance of conservation and protection, he said.

“Put us in front of youth and show them up close birds on our glove -not just eagles, but owls, hawks, falcons, ospreys- they’ll learn quick. They’re not going to go out and shoot them. They’re going to try to protect them,” he said. “I think we have a lot bigger impact educating than releasing a few rehabbed birds, although releasing the rehabbed bird is rewarding.”


Information from: Coeur d’Alene Press, https://www.cdapress.com

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