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You are here: Home Pressroom Press Releases Portland Audubon releases rehabilitated turkey vulture at Tualatin Wildlife Refuge June 29

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Portland Audubon releases rehabilitated turkey vulture at Tualatin Wildlife Refuge June 29

Vulture was found in Hillsboro with a gunshot wound this spring

This April, a turkey vulture with a gunshot wound was found on a roadside in Hillsboro, and after a lengthy stay in the Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center, the scavenger is ready to head back into the wild. Audubon staff will release the bird at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Portland Audubon releases rehabilitated turkey vulture at Tualatin Wildlife Refuge June 29

The turkey vulture was transferred to Audubon’s large outdoor flight cage in early May after its injuries had healed. Photo by Joe Chapman.

Jun 28, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. — This April, a turkey vulture with a gunshot wound was found on a roadside in Hillsboro, and after a lengthy stay in the Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center, the scavenger is ready to head back into the wild. Audubon staff will release the bird at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

“The vulture has bounced back from some pretty serious injuries,” said Portland Audubon veterinarian Deb Sheaffer. “Our initial exam of the bird revealed abrasions on its head, missing tail feathers and a fractured right femur, and a subsequent X-ray showed bullet fragments in the bird’s right wing and lower back.”

It took the turkey vulture several weeks to heal from these injuries, but care center staff members were able to transfer the bird to Audubon’s large outdoor flight cage by early May. This gave the bird plenty of time to rebuild its flight muscles and increase its stamina before returning to the wild.

Turkey Vulture exam - Lacy Campbell
A turkey vulture with a gunshot wound receives an exam soon after its intake at Audubon’s Wildlife Care Center. Photo by Lacy Campbell.

Several organizations have pitched in to help the vulture recover. It was found after Audubon’s care center had closed for the day, so Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital took the bird in for a night. Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is now providing a release site that is well-suited to the vulture’s needs.

“The refuge is located near where the bird was found, and it provides good habitat for turkey vultures,” said Lacy Campbell, Wildlife Care Center operations manager. “This will be a good spot for the bird to continue to build its strength in preparation for its fall migration.”

Turkey vultures are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Illegal shooting of protected species is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,500 fine.

“Turkey vultures are very cool birds that clean our environment and cause no harm," said Portland Audubon conservation director Bob Sallinger. “It is pathetic that somebody would go out and intentionally shoot one of these birds.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon state police are investigating the turkey vulture’s case.

The Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center is the oldest and busiest wildlife rehabilitation facility in Oregon. Each year, the care center treats more than 3,000 animals for release back into the wild and responds to more than 15,000 wildlife-related inquiries. The facility’s goal is to give injured animals a second chance at life in the wild and to reduce wildlife hazards in the community. The care center also conducts research about the problems affecting urban wildlife populations.

Founded in 1902, the Audubon Society of Portland is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the nation. It promotes the understanding, enjoyment and protection of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats through its conservation and environmental education programs, its 150-acre Nature Sanctuary and Nature Store in northwest Portland, and its Wildlife Care Center. The organization has played a key role in some of Oregon’s most important environmental achievements, including the enactment of the nation’s first state law protecting wild birds; the protection of the state’s first wildlife refuges at Three Arch Rocks, Malheur and Klamath; and the listing of the northern spotted owl under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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