Raptor Center helps birds of prey return to wild

New resident is attracting a lot of attention

MILTON, Wis. — An unassuming non-profit organization is quietly giving nature a helping hand.

The Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center near Milton has rehabilitated hundreds of birds of prey since Dianne Moller founded it 25 years ago. This love of these birds started at a young age for Moller.

“I found a great horned owl injured. And that was my first encounter with a wild owl. I didn’t know what to do. And we had a man in this area who rehab for a number of years. And I volunteered for him just a handful of times. And he said, My dear, I think this is your niche, this is your calling,” she said.

Moller is licensed by the Federal and state governments to rehab these birds, many on the endangered list. Her latest resident has become something of a celebrity in Southern Wisconsin.

Marling is now 14 weeks old, but when she was just 8 weeks old in mid-June, the nest her parents had built in a tree in downtown Janesville at the Marling Lumber building came crashing down after a heavy rain. The two-ton nest with Marling inside crashed to the ground.

A recovery mission was launched. She was found laying on the ground by local DNR wardens, her wings spread, clearly critically injured, already covered with flies. She was rushed to the vet and is now recovering at Hoo’s.

Will she fly again one day? That’s to be seen, but 60 percent of the injured birds that arrive here are returned to the wild. Those that can’t become educators and missionaries for raptor rehab centers across the state.

The non-profit is funded by grants, donations, and speaking fees. Diane has visited thousands of schools, nursing homes, and other interested groups. If you’re interested in learning more, and how to donate visit hooswoods.org.