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Giving Back to Help Central Florida Wildlife: Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

Winter Park Veterinary Hospital

When Dr. Robert Hess established Winter Park Veterinary Hospital more than 60 years ago, he did so with a passionate commitment to helping pets and their families. But our care and compassion extends beyond the Central Florida pets that visit our clinic, as WPVH vets also treat animal residents at many of the major Orlando theme parks including Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens. But especially near and dear to our hearts is one local animal welfare organization with deep community roots.

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland treats and rehabilitates many varieties of raptors including bald eagles, hawks, kites and owls. The Center’s dedicated staff and volunteers help reunite orphaned and injured birds with their families and return them to their natural habitat whenever possible. And while many types of injuries and conditions can be addressed at their on-site trauma center, sometimes more intensive care is necessary — and that’s where we step in.

We’ve been the primary veterinary service provider for the Florida Audubon Society for more than 25 years, treating many species of raptors that arrive at the Center’s doorstep. Dr. Hess was nationally recognized for his development of a special surgical procedure to treat an otherwise lethal foot disease that threatened the already endangered local bald eagle population. And today our staff continues in Dr. Hess’s footsteps, regularly treating a wide variety of injuries and ailments for the Center’s numerous avian patients and permanent residents.

Recently, we treated a burrowing owl named Terra. Terra was suffering from a large internal mass that the Audubon Center could not treat at its facility. Without needed medical care, her condition would have been fatal. Our team was able to diagnose her with advanced CT imaging and perform a delicate surgery on her reproductive organs to remove the mass. Terra made a successful recovery and currently lives with her “boyfriend” Gopher, another burrowing owl. They can frequently be seen grooming and calling out to each other.

We’re proud to continue to partner with and support Florida Audubon. Giving back to our local wildlife community is a part of our mission here at WPVH, and it’s important to do all that we can together to conserve Florida wildlife.

You can help protect wild bird populations by choosing native plants for your yard and avoiding harmful pesticides and chemicals. We encourage you to visit the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey educational and rehabilitation center to meet their bird ambassadors and learn more about what you can do to help protect Florida’s raptors.

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