Birds of prey have predators too (including humans), and they too can get get sick, injured and orphaned. But the human team at the Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is dedicated to helping birds of prey heal and recuperate. The Center focuses on ecological research and the rehabilitation and release of injured birds of prey, and includes a unique outdoor experience for guests that features exhibits with live alligators, crocodiles, turtles, tortoises and amazing birds of prey such as bald eagles, hawks and owls. Specializing in raptors that are either native to Florida and/or migrate through Florida, the Museum has cared for thousands of injured, sick and orphaned birds since 1991. Almost half of these have been released back into the wild. When it is determined that a raptor can no longer survive in the wild, it is taken in and cared for by the Museum.
This month, the Museum has unveiled a new exhbit in the Wildlife Center featuring great horned owls, developed entirely by Museum staff. As guests step outside, past the bald eagle and turkey vulture, they will come across what appears to be an empty enclosure full of trees. However, upon closer inspection, they will notice two great horned owls – it may take a minute to find them, because these magnificent birds have natural camouflage to blend in with their environment. The owls are non-flighted, non-releasable rehab birds which were acquired from other rehab facilities around the state of Florida. The owls’ enclosure has been planted with native plant species found in areas where great horned owls live naturally, such as slash pine, red cedar and beauty berry. In addition to the native plant species, the area includes natural water features so the birds may drink and bathe as they would in the wild. The exhibit will constantly grow and develop as more non–releasable birds arrive to the Center, so keep visiting and see how many owls you can spot!