Visit Julio and Xena at Their New Enclosures

by Katie Newton, Ambassador Animal Care and Outreach Coordinator

The Ambassador Animal Program at Bird Alliance of Oregon has been a key component for our conservation messaging and gives the public the opportunity to see wildlife up close and personal. While the Wildlife Care Center’s ultimate goal is to release wildlife back into the wild after rehabilitation, there are occasionally unique cases where the Ambassador Animal Program can offer a safe and enriching environment to otherwise unreleasable wild animals, providing these animals a chance to thrive under our specialized care. Our ambassadors are important to the community and our organization for providing educational opportunities to tens of thousands of people.

Julio the Great Horned Owl in her new enclosure

After our tearful goodbyes to Aristophanes the Raven and Ruby the Turkey Vulture as they left for a new adventure at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington, we prioritized moving our other resident ambassador birds to the spacious enclosures on our campus trails. This has been an exciting transition after rehoming our beloved Aristophanes and Ruby, who are doing well and adapting to their new home. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will wait until the animals have gone through quarantine and are fully settled in before their public debut. The timeline is unknown, as Ari and Ruby will dictate their training process. Once they make their big premiere, we will share the news with you.

In the meantime, we are thrilled to announce that Julio, our Great Horned Owl, and Xena, our American Kestrel, have moved into their new homes after we adequately prepared these large enclosures for each of them. Both birds require perches of specific diameters and different textures to ensure foot health. Perches were placed in different locations and heights that allowed the birds to safely move around their enclosures, choose where they would like to perch, have the option to hide, and experience a variety of foliage, rocks, and stumps. Additionally, each bird was provided with two nest boxes for them to engage in natural nesting behaviors. We provided Julio with a ground nest scrape for further nesting opportunities, and Xena was outfitted with several high perches as American Kestrels naturally avoid ground predators by perching on taller structures. Many thanks to the staff and volunteers who helped to accomplish this large project!

We encourage you to stop by our trailside enclosures and welcome these two ambassadors with open hearts. Interpretive educational opportunities are in the works, and Bird Alliance of Oregon is thrilled to teach wide audiences about these special birds and share their story.