Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
I recently visited The Raptor Trust with Take A Hike NJ. The Raptor Trust is a hospital and rehabilitation facility for injured and orphaned native birds. One of the Trust’s educators walked us through the enclosures and talked about the various species who live there.
Len Soucy began rescuing raptors in his backyard in the late 1960s. Back then, some states placed bounties on birds of prey. There were no legal protections for raptors who were viewed as dangerous predators. On of the resident bald eagles in the Trust had his wing shot off by fishermen protecting their catch.
The passage of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1972 made this illegal, but it still happens. Birds are also injured by cars or by flying into buildings. Others, like the Northern Harrier, make their nests on the ground and the young fall prey to lawn mowers.
The Soucy family’s rescue operation expanded until it became too much for them to handle alone. The Raptor Trust formed as a non-profit organization in 1982. The Trust treats thousands of birds every year and releases most of them back into the wild. The facility’s land borders the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and partners with the Refuge to release the birds there.
Today, the Trust’s mission is three-fold. One, they provide care for sick, injured or orphaned wild birds. Two, they educate the public about these birds. And three, they provide a humane example for others.
The birds we saw on our tour were either flightless, blind or imprinted on humans. They couldn’t survive on their own if released. Though the rescue started out working with raptors, they now treat all birds native to the region. We even saw a clever raven who gets visits from his wild brothers ever day.
Location: 1390 White Bridge Rd, Millington, NJ 07946
Designation: Wildlife Rescue
Date designated/established: 1982
Date of my visit: April 17, 2021