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Birds of prey need help after storms hit flight pen

One of the only raptor rehabilitation centers in the state is right here in Pike County and after recent storms damaged the roof of their flight pen, donations are needed to make repairs before irreversible damage is done by the weather. ’We lost the whole 50 plus feet of paper and rolled roofing on the big flight pen. This is the covered area that protects the raptors from the weather. We have lumber damage under the roofing as we used untreated wood under the covered area to try and save money,’ said founder of Bubba and Friends and longtime Pike resident Steve Hicks. ‘We need to raise $500 to repair this damage before hurricane season starts.’ All donations are tax deductible. They can be mailed to Bubba and Friends, P.O. Box 103, Zebulon. To donate via Paypal, go to bubba-and-friends.org and click on the Donate button. The storm blew the roof off the entire flight pen, which currently houses six birds of prey but has often held many more before they were released into the wild. Right now the flight pen houses Mama, a horned owl that was found wedged between two fences near Warner Robins, a Cooper’s Hawk who flew into something and knocked himself out in Lamar County, Gizmo, a red tailed hawk who either hit a car or a building near Macon, Genius a Lanner Falcon who got lost in a tropical storm and was found on a truck near Sandersville and Mr. and Mrs. Harris Hawk, the female was crippled after a falconer was hunting with her and she broke a back toe that was not treated correctly so now she can’t grip her prey. During another falconry hunt, a squirrel bit off her front toe which makes her unreleasable. She is currently nesting and has three eggs. ’Time is of the essence to get the flight pen fixed,’ said Hicks. ‘We want to make sure it’s all dried out before the repairs are made.’ Since it behan in the mid 1980s, Bubba and Friends has helped rehabbed many different types of birds of prey, including bald eagles, ospreys, red tailed hawks, red shoulder hawks, broad wing hawks, Mississippi kites, Coopers hawks, sharp-shin hawks, great horned owl, barred owl, barn owl, screech owl and vultures. One of the first birds rehabbed was Bubba, a red tailed hawk whose pelvis was broken after a collision with an automobile. Since the injury rendered him unreleasable to the wild, he was an educational ambassador and visited several area classrooms as part of a program about raptors. When photos were taken and placed in the newspaper referring to the rehab group as ‘˜Bubba and Friends,’ they accepted the name. To find out more about how to help, go to bubba-and-friends.org.

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