The Bird of Prey Program is a partnership between the Friends of Boyd Hill and the City of St. Petersburg. Both organizations share costs for food, shelter, and veterinary services, as well as responsibility for the birds' care and well-being.
Only birds that cannot be released back into the wild are kept (with state and federal permits) as animal ambassadors at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. The birds have all been deemed non-releasable by a licensed rehabilitator and are carefully vetted to ensure that they will adapt to being handled and used in educational programs. Once birds are welcomed into the Bird of Prey Program, Boyd Hill becomes home for the rest of their lives.
Staff members and dozens of volunteers maintain aviaries, provide enrichment activities, and conduct daily handling of the bird ambassadors. We have partnerships with area wildlife rescuers and rehabilitators, as well as veterinarians in the community who we count on for medical care. The birds are fed a quality diet comparable to what their wild counterparts consume. A typical meal for a bird at Boyd Hill might consist of mice, rats, beef heart, chicks, quail, chicken, and fish along with special vitamins twice a week.
Visitors to Boyd Hill get exciting opportunities to see these animal ambassadors up close while learning about their natural history and role in the ecosystem. The birds also visit schools and community functions, bringing nature where it’s needed.
By caring for non-releasable birds of prey we serve two important purposes: We give a new chance at life to birds who would not survive in the wild. And, we inspire the humans who meet them to care about wildlife in their own backyards and communities.The owls, vultures, hawks, eagle, and other birds of prey at Boyd Hill are a valuable educational resource for the local community - we're honored to offer them care in our favorite wild slice of paradise.