A natural rush: Watching injured wildlife get returned to the wild is stunning
If you’ve never attended a Wildlife Release, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s almost as good as runnin’ naked in the woods.
So when I read in the Wildlife Center of Texas Newsletter that they were having another Wildlife Release, I grabbed my camera and made a beeline to Dr. Ned and Fay Dudney Nature Center in League City. So did about a hundred others.
This time, on a cold, blue-sky morning, two Red-tailed hawks were returning to the wild courtesy of Sharon Schmalz, executive director of the Wildlife Center of Texas, and her dedicated team of vets and volunteers.
Three Roseate spoonbills flew directly over our heads. Then, a bald eagle. Our group sighed in unison.
There’s no telling how many Wildlife Releases Sharon’s performed. When I asked her, she couldn’t tell me. She did say without hesitation though, “This is our favorite part.” Mine too.
Seconds before the release, three Roseate spoonbills flew directly over our heads. Then, a bald eagle. Our group sighed in unison. Someone behind me said wistfully, “A bald eagle fly-over. Right here at 9:30.”
Mother Nature had given the perfect cue. Sharon slipped on her raptor gloves and reached for the first hawk. This one, she explained, had suffered a head injury.
“This guy’s ready to go,” she said. Indeed he was. He took flight so fast that the one shot I fired from my camera wasn’t even close.
The second hawk had come to the Wildlife Center with a fractured wing but you’d never have known it this day. He took to the air and made a hard left.
Some folks walked in his direction. Most stood applauding.