Dear Friends of the California Raptor Center,

It’s been a busy summer here at the California Raptor Center!

Just like last year, spring turned into summer again with a nursery chock full of chicks. With summer temperatures soaring, chicks in nests at the top of trees often jump out of the nest before they are ready to fledge to escape the pounding heat. Our general motto is "if you care, leave it there," because chicks on the ground in spring attempting their first flight are fully feathered and are close to being able to fly but often tumble to the ground on their first try. The parents usually stick around to feed the chicks until they finally have to strength to fly and begin to home their hunting skills. When the sun is pounding on the chicks in the summer in the treetops, it doesn’t matter whether they’re truly fledged or not; they will jump from the nest to save themselves from the heat. These "summer" chicks often are unfeathered, and ill equipped to thermoregulate properly. Whether the parents feed the chicks on the ground is irrelevant– these birds are heat exhausted and are more prone to predator attacks. So the old motto "if you care, leave it there" misses chicks in this stage of life. So with the temperature increases we’ve seen in recent years we’re adjusting this message when the temperatures soar over 100 degrees F. One of the chicks that came to the CRC very late in the season was the barn owl chick nicknamed "Peppy"– a very strange medical case that ended happily with his release just a few weeks ago.

This month we also want to celebrate the recognition of our own Jo Cowen who was awarded the 2018 UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Service Award! Jo has volunteered for on-site education programs for 30 years (perhaps she educated you or your children!). Jo, along with Lis Fleming and our other on-site education team members hosted over 1500 K-12 and adult learners this past year alone, a record for our on-site education programs! Please read more about Jo and the amazing job she does promoting the CRC education programs about raptors and the environment to so many young minds!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who contributed to our spring rehabilitation cage replacement fundraiser! Thanks to you, we successfully achieved our goal and raised the funds necessary to replace our largest rehabilitation cage building. We look forward to beginning the demolition this fall with construction to quickly follow. Look for mock-ups of our new building on our webpage or at our Fall Open House.

I look forward to seeing you at the California Raptor Center Fall Open House event on Saturday, October 20 from 9 AM to 3 PM!


Director, California Raptor Center


This past June, a team of UC Davis Avian Science graduate students working on a barn owl study found a severely under-developed baby barn owl in one of their barn boxes. After a couple weeks of close observation, the students (Ryan Bourbour, Emily Phillips, and Breanna Martinico) knew it was time to bring the owl to the CA Raptor Center for evaluation and possible rehabilitation. Its siblings had fledged and left the nest two weeks prior while this owl still had not grown any body or covert feathers, and it was no longer clear if the owl was still being fed by its parents.


On August 23, our Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Julie Cotton gave a presentation to a group of Japanese visitors at Joe Turkovich's prune and walnut farm to explain how barn owls can provide effective pesticide-free pest control. Joe is an ardent supporter of pesticide-free farming and even has several nest boxes located on his farmland to encourage barn owls to move into the area.

This event was also the debut of our newest education ambassador! After 6 years with no glove-trained barn owls, the CA Raptor Center recently acquired a new barn owl from Lindsay Wildlife Experience - and it turns out she is a natural on the glove.

Goodbye rosa

We are saddened to announce that Rosa, the California Raptor Center’s beloved and iconic Harris’s hawk, passed away over Memorial Day weekend. She was at least 28 years old and had resided at the CRC since 1999.

goodbye mikey

With deep sadness we annouce the passing of Mikey, the CRC's beloved red-shouldered hawk. Mikey passed away sometime in the night between Monday, August 13th and Tuesday, August 14th.


Tadita was transferred to us in early 2018 when Sarvey Wildlife Care Center needed to find a new place for her to live. Prior to arriving at the CRC, Tadita resided at Sarvey Wildlife for 10 years as an educational ambassador. She originally came into human care in 2008 when a park ranger found her as an injured fledgling on the side of Mount Rainier in Washington State. The nature of her injury prevents her from fully extending her right wing and renders her non-releasable.


Longtime volunteer Jo Cowen standing outside of the CRC museum

For this quarter we are highlighting Jo Cowen (who also happens to be a 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for her exemplary volunteer record with the California Raptor Center (CRC). Starting as a volunteer in the 1980s, she took a brief hiatus before returning in 1992 to assume the role of volunteer Education Coordinator, a position she has held for over 20 years.

Jo books, coordinates, and teaches approximately 60-80 on-site public education programs per year at the CRC, which reach an average of 800-1,500 people. Audiences are primarily schoolchildren in grades 2-12, but Jo's on-site programs also serve people of all ages and backgrounds, including retiree groups, professional organizations, university groups and clubs, UC Davis undergraduates, and School of Veterinary Medicine students. The CRC has developed lasting relationships with a number of local schools and teachers through these educational presentations.

upcoming events

California Raptor Center Fundraiser at Super Owl Brewing: Thursday, September 13

Fall Open House: Saturday, October 20

FLOAT t-shirt campaign: October 21-28

Limited edition CRC t-shirt design
  • FLOAT (For Love Of All Things) will re-release the burrowing owl t-shirt they designed for us last year, available for purchase online October 22-29 (1 week only!)

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