Cascades Raptor Center Eugene, OR

As a part of my 2017 Oregon Road Trip, I visited the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, OR. If you’re in the area, this adventure is fun, educational, and takes only an hour or two to see.

Celilo the bald eagle wants to know why you’re looking at him.

The center’s mission is to rehabilitate and release injured birds of prey. However, releasing them back into the wild isn’t always for the best. The permanent birds in the outreach program aren’t able to survive in the wild due to the extensiveness of their injuries. These birds are on display in enclosures throughout the center. Be sure to walk up and down every path to meet them all.

While we were there, staff members brought out two lovelies to share their story. In addition to learning about their species in general, they spoke about the injuries suffered by that specific bird.

Danu the osprey is a beautiful bird who can’t hunt effectively due to developmental delays from suffering near starvation as a chick.
Taka the Swainson’s hawk was shot many years ago and can no longer fly well enough to survive in the wild.

In the summer, it was a pleasant, short adventure. There was plenty of shade as we walked. I loved how some birds clowned around a bit to interact with us from their enclosure. Freyja loudly complained when I stopped taking her picture and turned to talk to my sister.

Freyja the peregrine falcon

I stopped to speak with two staff members in the course of my wanderings. They were enthusiastic about their birds and interesting to listen to. Instead of drifting off into boring details, they spoke about the individual bird’s life story and how they compare to members of their species still in the wild. Each of the birds has an interesting, if sad, story. For example, Danu’s father was electrocuted by nearby power lines. His mother was unable to feed the chicks by herself. By the time a rescuer found the nest, only Danu and one other chick were left alive. Within the first week after the rescue, Danu’s sibling also passed. Due to the starvation, Danu’s cognitive abilities never fully developed. Danu wouldn’t have survived in the wild for a variety of reasons. His handler discussed the fact that she doesn’t have the same fear reaction other predators have. A healthy raptor would respond to a dog trying to attack it by never returning to that spot again; it would always associate that physical location with danger. Poor Danu forgets danger as soon as it’s out of her line of sight. As soon as the dog is out of her sight, she calmed down and forgot to be scared. That would mean a short life span if she weren’t taken care of by the center.

By the way, the trick is to aim your camera’s lens between the squares of mesh on the enclosures. My sister Sue figured that one out.

Banjo the red tail-ed hawk knows he’s pretty.

Admission was $9 each for the adults in my party. I would definitely go again if I’m in the Eugene area. They’re doing great work.


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