Storm Damages Wildlife Refuge Cages

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – A wildlife refuge is fundraising to repair two essential bird cages that collapsed during last week’s snow storm.

The Chintimini Wildlife Center cares for approximately 1,000 animals every year, and has three flight cages that it uses for its rehabilitation efforts to help injured or orphaned birds prepare to go back into the wild.

Jeff Picton, the Executive Director of the Center, says two of those three cages have been completely destroyed and need to be replaced. He heard the news last Saturday.

“Some of the volunteers were already here,” he said. “And I walked in and said, ‘How’s it going today?’ And they said: ‘Well two of our cages collapsed.’ And at first I thought they were joking. I thought it was just a bad joke. But they had serious faces and I realized they were serious too. So I came down here and my first concern was were there any animals injured?”

He says luckily the three red-tailed hawks inside the 60-foot cage – there because of previous injuries – did not suffer any more injuries from the collapse. No birds were inside the 30-foot cage. Picton says the weight of the snow caused the cages to cave in.

“Fortunately the one end of the cage had not completely collapsed and there was this little tent area – and they were all hunkered down in there,” Picton said.

Now the non-profit is working to rebuild a temporary home for the red-tailed hawks, but it is going to take some fundraising.

Picton says insurance will likely cover a portion of the damages – but the Chintimini Wildlife Center wants to beef up the cages to make sure another snow storm won’t destroy the repairs. The nonprofit estimates that it will cost $10,000 after insurance kicks in to re-build the damaged cages.

In the meantime, the red-tailed hawks are rehabilitating in the last, remaining flight cage where they are exercising to regain their strength.

“We don’t just toss them out the next day because they have to get their strength built back up,” Picton said. “They’re like high class athletes and they have to be in 100% shape in order to survive.”

Chintimini has a steady flow of animals coming through for care, and it says it needs to get the two cages fixed as soon as possible. If you would like to donate, click here.

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