On any list of Earthplace highlights, the birds of prey nest near the top.
Brought to the nature center off Stony Brook Road because of injury, they’re cared for and nursed back to health. Each year, thousands of visitors — including many youngsters — marvel at them up close, and appreciate how special each one is.
They can’t survive in the wild, but find sanctuary at the sanctuary.
Unfortunately, Earthplace’s longtime supplier of food is unable to continue donating. The non-profit must raise $14,000 to keep their rescued raptors fed.
Earthplace is personalizing its appeal:
$25 feeds Edgar, the raven, for 2 weeks
$50 feeds Ladybird, the horned owl, for 2 weeks
$100 feeds Talon, the red-tailed hawk, for 1 month
$250 feeds Chatty and Cerena, the bald eagles, for 1 month.
Of course, any amount helps. Click here for more information, and click here to contribute directly.
Three or four times a year, for decades, Earthplace sent a truck to Charles River Laboratory in Kingston, New York.
They’d load it with frozen rats, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs. Back in Westport, volunteers would bag thousands of them, then pack them in 3 large freezers.
For the next few months, the dead animals were meals for Earthplace’s raptors and reptiles.
Dinner for an owl …
The food was free — excess from the research lab.
The last pickup was January 10. That’s when Charles River stopped donating their excess rodents.
Which means Earthplace must now find a new source of animals to feed its animals. At 75 cents a mouse and $2 per rat, that’s tens of thousands of dollars a year.
… and an eagle.
The Westport natural history museum, nature center and wildlife sanctuary already pays for chicks and quail from another supplier. (Hey, snakes like a varied diet too). And Stew Leonard’s donates salmon (!) for eagles, crows and vultures.
But, says Becky Newman — Earthplace’s director of nature programs — sourcing new rodents is tough.
So is paying for them.
If you know of a good source for rats, mice, gerbils and/or guinea pigs (be serious, please!), or can help fund them, please contact Becky (203-557-4563; firstname.lastname@example.org).
One of 3 freezers filled with dinners.
If you’re a grocery store that can donate outdated or unsalable (freezer burn, etc.) meat, Becky would love to hear from you too.
NOTE: Earthplace cannot accept rodents trapped in your house (they may contain poisons).
And — because I know my “06880” readers — no roadkill either. Sorry!
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Thanks!)