Avian Reconditioning Center
Park Avenue Animal Hospital is proud to support the Avian Reconditioning Center (ARC), a not-for-profit birds of prey rehabilitation and education facility located in Apopka, Florida. PAAH has joined ARC in their quest to bring hawks, owls, eagles, and other raptors (birds of prey) back to nature, by providing medical support to their vast array of magnificent birds.
Raptors are an incredibly important part of our environment. An apex predator (an animal at the top of the food chain) they provide balance in the local ecosystem by controlling populations of nuisance pests such as rats, mice, insects, snakes, lizards and even fish! Housing and industrial development, the use of pesticides and chemicals, and free-roaming domesticated animals often affect the health of the local environment. Raptors act as a natural gauge for how healthy the environment really is. If the raptor population in an specific area becomes unhealthy, chances are good that it is due mainly to an unbalance in the ecosystem in the area where they are hunting.
One of ARC's main focus is the physical reconditioning of raptors that have been inactive for an extended period of time while recovering from illness or injury. ARC uses modern medicine and traditional falconry techniques to evaluate a bird's chances for survival in the wild after recovering from an injury and to teach nestling birds how to hunt. Education is also a primary focus of ARC as they provide educational opportunities using live birds of prey. Through their tireless rehabilitation efforts, the volunteers at ARC are able to help birds of prey return to the wild with a higher chance for survival, helping to increase the sustainability of the various species they interact with.
Since 2008, Park Avenue Animal Hospital has taken an active role in helping ARC bring their “rehab” birds back to prime health and return them into the wild. The doctors treat each bird with the same compassionate care that they give to all their ‘domestic’ patients, providing diagnostics, therapies, and surgical repair whenever necessary. PAAH receptionist, Jessica Wilson, spent hundreds of hours volunteering at ARC, including traveling all over the state giving educational talks about the importance of raptors and nature conservation.
Weather permitting, the Avian Reconditioning Center is open to the public on Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with educational talks, photo opportunities, and flight demonstrations throughout the day.
ARC also plays host to a number of popular annual events, such as the Raptor Rap Kid’s Camp (twice a year in Winter and Summer), Sir Henry’s Valentine’s Day party, American Eagle Day, and the “BIG EVENT”, Fall Owl Festival.