Injured owls, hawks, eagles find safe haven in Central Florida

Get up close with raptors for just $8

MAITLAND, Fla. – If you look up in the sky from time to time you may get lucky and see an owl, hawk or eagle.

If you go to the Audobon Center for Birds of Prey you are guaranteed to see one and it will only cost you $8. You will likely learn a lot too.

Daisy Fiore, the Senior Coordinator for Education joined Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin on Florida’s Fourth Estate to talk more about the location and how it has become a haven for injured raptors.

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Fiore started with Trouble, a 36-year-old bald eagle. She confidently held the bird out on her arm, but agreed eagles can be vicious and intimidating.

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“Bald eagles are extremely territorial,” she said. “They form pair bonds and they are very nice in those pair bonds, but to stranger eagles, they are very territorial. They are trying to protect the best nesting space that they are laying claim to. Keep other eagles out of there. Protect their hunting territory.”

Austin said once thought two eagles blocking traffic on the side of the road were in love, but quickly realized they were actually fighting.

“Every year here at Audobon Center for Birds of Prey we do get in a couple eagles that have got into territory fights with one another and have been injured in those territory fights,” Fiore said. “It’s very true that if you see two eagles together, it could be a bonded pair... but they could also be getting in a territory fight.”

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If you haven’t seen one yet, you likely will.

“We are usually second or third as far as largest populations (for eagles),” Fiore said.

She added great horned owls are also prevalent in our state and if you haven’t seen them, you have likely heard them.

“They make that whoo whoo call that everyone thinks of,” she said.

“They are called the tigers of the sky.... eagles may have a strong grip, but great horned owls can grip about twice as strong as an eagle,” Fiore said. “(Great horned owls can) actually crush bone with those tallons.”

Fiore also said there is a red-shouldered hawk at the center and that they are the most common bird of prey in Florida.

Most of the birds at the Audobon Center live there because they have been injured and are not able to be re-introduced to the wild.

If you would like to learn more or help out, Fiore said they are in need of volunteers and for every visitor that comes, the ticket price goes back into supporting the birds.

Florida’s Fourth Estate is on News 6 at 5:30 p.m. every Monday and Friday. You can also watch it anytime on News 6+.

About the Author:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.