Dear Friends of the California Raptor Center,

As the days gets shorter, the CA Raptor Center team is readying for our fall Open House. We will showcase our ambassador birds and their stories, to educate the public about the species and our impact on their environment. This year our Open House is scheduled for Saturday, October 19 from 9-3 pm and we hope you and your family can join us for this great event!

How could we let October and Halloween slip by without highlighting our vultures and owls? In this newsletter we introduce you to Juliet, our female adult turkey vulture that came to us way back in 1993 with a left wing injury that deemed her non-releasable. She is a great ambassador as her story teaches that these birds play a significant role in cleaning up our environment. Also check out the release of a wild turkey vulture that came to us this summer as a still down-covered orphaned chick. The bird was banded and released at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in Sausalito. Likewise, we released two young western screech owls recently as well, enjoy this video created by Matt Falcon (yes, his real name!) of Julie Cotton and Billy Thein releasing the birds. Come to our Open House and see our two new turkey vulture ambassadors making their debut as well as say hello again to Citrine our barn owl, Forrest and Luna our great horned owls and our western screech owls as well!

Recently I had the honor of awarding Bret Stedman, our long-time operations manager, his pin for 30 years of dedicated service to these amazing birds at UC Davis! Every year Bret teaches a multitude of undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students how to safely restrain, examine and care for different species of raptors we see each year. At every Open House I meet another former CRC volunteer with another story of how working with Bret affected either their career aspirations, or how they exposed their children or grandchildren to these wonderful birds at an early age. Bret’s service pin is misleading because it does not account for the additional 7 years he volunteered here before being hired, bringing Bret to 37 years of amazing service to the California Raptor Center!

We hope to see you for Open House on Saturday, October 19, and thank you for your continued support of the California Raptor Center!


Director, California Raptor Center

western screech owl release (video)

Two Western Screech-Owls returned to the wild near the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area last Tuesday night, released after weeks spent recuperating at the California Raptor Center. One of the duo arrived in mid-July as an injured adult with eye trauma, possibly the victim of a car strike; just four days later, the other screech-owl was admitted as an ill juvenile, uncoordinated and unable to fly.

researching infectious disease risk in rehabilitation centers

Rehabilitation centers are crucial for aiding injured birds of prey including hawks, falcons, owls and eagles. However, infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses can have health implications for the predatory birds and rehabilitation staff. Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) is a bacteria that are of concern especially in birds of prey because they have the ability to infect other bird species and humans via close contact. Brittany Seibert, a previous volunteer with the CRC, performed this study for her Master’s thesis with Dr. Hawkins.

FEATURED RESIDENT: juliet, the turkey vulture

Juliet, the Turkey Vulture

Juliet came to us in October 1993. She was found on the ground, starving and unable to fly. A previously healed left-wing injury prevented normal flight, and despite months of physical therapy, full range of motion did not return to the wing. She was deemed non-releasable.

Juliet became a display bird in June 1994 and shared a cage in the visitor area with Balzac, a male turkey vulture who was imprinted on people. The two birds usually got along quite well together. Indeed, for many years we thought Juliet was also a male vulture—until summer 2002, when she laid an egg! Before that we had called her "Romeo," so under the circumstances, it seemed only right for us to change her name to Juliet.

VOLUNTEER HIGHLIGHT: Katrina reethof-bower

Katrina Reethof-Bower and Grasshopper the Swainson's hawk on the glove

By Katrina Reethof-Bower

I am Katrina Reethof-Bower, and I am a junior at University of Pittsburgh this upcoming Fall. I am currently majoring in Communication Rhetoric, and I plan to add a double major in Public and Professional Writing and a certificate in Digital Media. I grew up on the east coast about 30 minutes from Philadelphia, so the weather in California was a treat for me. I always wanted to live in California, so having the opportunity to test it out has been a dream.

I landed an internship at the California Raptor Center after a myriad of emails between many different people. It started when my aunt, who is a salesperson at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery, met with a new client, Sue Williams. During one of their conversations, my aunt happened to mention that her niece, me, was looking for a Summer internship. Sue, who is now retired from UC Davis, told my aunt she would ask her friends that still worked here. One of Sue’s contacts, Lisa Wells, put me in touch with Tom Hinds and Kristin Burns. Through Kristin, I started emailing with Dr. Michelle Hawkins, and now I am the Summer intern/volunteer for the Raptor Center.

This summer, I will worked with the Raptor Center’s marketing team, Kristin Burns and Eunah Cho at the One Health Institute. My tasks to update the CRC’s website and handle the social media accounts. Some major projects that I worked on included the website timeline, staff and volunteer biography paragraphs, and social media post generation. I was very excited to have the chance to learn different marketing techniques and to meet a lot of new people.

Congratulations to bret for 30 years at the california raptor center

The CRC has undergone many changes and transformations over the years, but one thing that has stayed consistent and steady throughout is our beloved Operations Manager Bret Stedman.

Bret Stedman, Operations Manager of the California Raptor Center

Bret received special recognition from UC Davis for his 30 years working at the CRC (technically 37 years if you count his 7 additional years as a volunteer)! Thank you for your many years training volunteers and rehabilitating raptors at the CRC.

upcoming events

Fall Open House: Saturday, October 19