Wildlife Center gift match challenge to benefit birds

MADISON (WKOW) — The Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) is within $20,000 of raising the funds needed to construct a 100-foot flight pen at their Wildlife Center.

The flight pen would be used to rehabilitate injured, ill or orphaned large birds of prey from South Central Wisconsin, DCHS said in a statement.

The statement said DCHS’ Wildlife Center has a 50-foot flight pen, but it only meets certain bird species’ requirements for rehabilitation.

Bald eagles, snowy owls, turkey vultures, peregrine falcons, osprey and great gray owls all require a 100-foot flight pen for proper recovery, according to the DCHS.

The statement said a pen this size would allow their large birds to restore muscle tone, improve strength and endurance, and acclimate to current weather conditions.

The DCHS’s Wildlife Center said it has seen an increase in the number of large birds of prey that require this size pen. Many are transported to DCHS from the Southwest region of the state along the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, where many birds of prey reside because no other local facility can care for them.

They often arrive lethargic and unable to fly properly due to lead poisoning, according to DCHS. Full treatment can take months, and the birds must be placed in flight pens prior to release, to ensure they have fully regained their health and strength to adequately fly.

Currently, DCHS says large birds are transferred from the Wildlife Center to the 100-foot flight pens at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay for rehabilitation, but the added stress of travel and relocation can cause the animals to injure themselves and hinder recovery.

DCHS says most of the flight pen’s construction has been funded by donors. Two DCHS’s Wildlife Center volunteers will match all donations to the flight pen, up to $10,000.

To learn more and donate, visit: https://www.giveshelter.org/news/flight-pen

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