We have an announcement to make about Avalon, who has been a Bald Eagle Ambassador for the Ojai Raptor Center for the past four years; We are pleased to announce that Avalon has been transferred to the Santa Barbara Zoo to a large, beautiful open-air enclosure, complete with trees and a pond. While everyone here at ORC will miss her greatly, no one can deny that this is good news for Avalon. She will not be glove handled but instead be able to be viewed from a distance, which is the ideal situation for her personality (aside from being healthy and free, of course).
If you have ever attended one of our bi-annual Open Houses you would have seen most of our non-releasable, educational ambassadors calmly perched on one of our volunteers’ gloves, but you may have noticed that Avalon, also known to some as Eagle K04, was rarely out for the public to view and when she was she often appeared to be nervous. (If you are not familiar with Avalon and her story click here) Under Federal and State laws, non-releasable wildlife must be actively used in an education program in order to be kept in captivity by wildlife rehabilitation organizations. Since we are not open to the public and only do outreach education on sites away from the Center, our ambassadors must be glove trained and handled by our education team. ORC spends considerable time glove training each ambassador for educational presentations but sometimes, wild animals are simply not receptive to working in this situation as each and every bird has unique personalities just as people do. Despite four years of training, different handlers, and little improvement, Director Kim Stroud made the decision to find alternative arrangements in the best interest of Avalon.
Avalon is now on display in the Bald Eagle enclosure at the Santa Barbara Zoo and we are told that she is getting along well with the other two eagle residents, and settling into her new environment nicely. Apparently she loves the pond and has been seen taking baths every day. We cannot stress enough just how happy we are for Avalon in her new home, that is so much better suited for her. We wish her peace and happiness for the rest of her days and we will all miss her very much at ORC.