Wildlife Heroes team up to save birds of prey

Injured Australian birds of prey will be rehabilitated in a new free-flight aviary located in Northern Rivers NSW and operated by Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife’s “Wildlife Heroes” program.

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital’s expert wildlife veterinarians will partner with Ewingsdale landowners dedicated to wildlife conservation along with local wildlife carers to treat and rehabilitate Australian raptors including Kites, Hawks, Eagles, Kestrels, Ospreys and Owls that have suffered injuries, trauma or disease.

The facility has been modelled on the large round aviaries measuring over 30 metres in diameter and 6 metres in height operated at the Higher Ground Raptor Centre in the NSW Southern Highlands. In late 2020, BBWH Founder and CEO Dr Stephen Van Mil and Byron Bay ecologist Wren Mclean visited the Raptor Centre created by Raptor rehabilitator and Churchill Fellow Peggy McDonald to research the project.  

“We wanted this facility to be designed on the best practice principles established by Peggy McDonald. Her expertise and experience in this field are without parallel,” said Dr Van Mil.

“We’re incredibly grateful that the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife has seen the merit in our project by awarding us a $50,000 grant to construct the aviary through the Wildlife Heroes program.”

BBWH Foundation Veterinarian Dr Bree Talbot said “Appropriate space for monitored rehabilitation is a vital part of the recovery of any native animal before they can be released back into the wild.”

“We’re looking forward to working very closely with raptor carers from local wildlife care groups including WIRES Northern Rivers and Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers as part of this important process,” said Dr Talbot.  

“Having the free-flight aviary located on private land just 2km away from the Wildlife Hospital means we can get them into rehabilitation very quickly, significantly improving their prospects of being released back into the wild.”

“The generosity of these conservation-minded landowners in gifting land on their 368 acre property will help us save these magnificent native birds.”

The Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital free flight aviary is planned to be completed in May 2021.

Raptor images were taken at Higher Ground Raptor Centre and supplied by MK Images. Round Aviary image supplied by Wren Mclean

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