Wildlife Center of Virginia presents Birds of Prey program at Riverfest

wildlife center of virginiaThe Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will present an education program on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Constitution Park in Waynesboro.

The program is part of the full-day public Riverfest event; admission to the program and the event is free.

Raina DeFonza, the Center’s Outreach Coordinator, will discuss adaptations of birds of prey [raptors] native to Virginia. Joining Raina will be three of the Center’s non-releasable birds of prey, including Buddy – the Center’s Bald Eagle ambassador. Buddy hatched on April 27, 2008 at a nest at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.  Thousands of individuals around the world followed his life through “EagleCam” — a web-based camera — and soon noticed a lump developing on the side of the bird’s beak.  Buddy was admitted to the Wildlife Center in May 2008 and diagnosed with avian pox. Despite an all-out effort by Center veterinarians, the pox lesion caused a permanent misalignment in Buddy’s beak. He was deemed non-releasable and became an education animal with the Center. Buddy’s appearance at Riverfest is a part of a special three-day 10th Hatch Day [birthday] celebration.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine.  Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 75,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  The goal of the Center is “to treat to release” – to restore patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild.  The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.

In 2011, the Center launched an online Critter Cam, which allows wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients and resident education animals, including Buddy.  Patients that have been “featured” on one of the three Critter Cam feeds includes rambunctious Black Bear cubs, recovering Bald Eagle patients, a young Bobcat, and more.

A link to Critter Cam can be found at www.wildlifecenter.org.