We're grateful to the community for helping us complete the Take Flight Project Capital Campaign! This project, the first capital campaign in West Sound Wildlife's history, raised $575,000 and built two facilities: a state-of-the-art flight cage (the C. Keith Birkenfeld Flight Cage) and waterfowl enclosure that can also serve as a facility to care for oiled birds in the case of an oil spill.
Read more and see photos of the completed C. Keith Birkenfeld Flight Cage and the waterfowl enclosure in use. Below, you'll learn more about the Shelter and the need for these two incredible facilities.
West Sound Wildlife Shelter is the only wildlife hospital and live-animal education center in the Western Puget Sound. The Shelter provides life-saving care to injured, orphaned, and sick wild animals and delivers unforgettable education programs featuring two live owls and two crows.
The Shelter, one of only four professional, full-scale wildlife hospitals in Western Washington, opened in 1999. Since that time, the Shelter has taken flight and been a model of success.
Demand for the Shelter’s hospital services has increased 300% since the Shelter opened, with over 750 patients admitted in 2009. The wildlife hospital process involves two major units — (1) the intensive care unit inside the hospital (the interior unit) and (2) the exterior enclosure unit. Patients proceed from one unit to the other.
At the height of the hospital’s busy season in each of the last two years, the Shelter reached capacity in both units. The Shelter has made solving these capacity problems its highest priority.
In 2008, the Shelter opened a new building, which resolved the capacity problems for the interior unit. The resolution of the interior capacity problems has made it even more apparent that the hospital’s exterior unit is insufficient. In particular, numerous patients were forced to wait in the hospital’s interior unit because the hospital’s exterior enclosures were full. Aside from impacting the quality of the patients’ care, this causes efficiency and process issues within the hospital.
Furthermore, the Shelter’s current exterior unit enclosures are not of optimum size or design for the Shelter’s most iconic patients: bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, ospreys, large owls, endangered spotted owls, great blue herons, cormorants, ducks, loons, and all of the other large birds and waterfowl that enrich our environment and need our help. Consequently, these animals do not receive the best care possible and are forced to endure unneeded stress and the Shelter is forced to operate inefficiently.
Working with a phenomenal design team, the Shelter has developed designs for two innovative, state-of-the-art wildlife hospital enclosures — a flight cage and a waterfowl enclosure. We're proud to announce that the C. Keith Birkenfeld Flight Cage is already built (click here to see photos of the Flight Cage in use.)
The Flight Cage and the waterfowl enclosure will anchor the Shelter’s exterior unit and help thousands of patients take flight. In particular, these enclosures will allow the Shelter to provide greatly improved care to all of its patients (not just those that will use the new enclosures), will significantly improve the efficiency of the Shelter, and will provide the Shelter with the extra capacity it needs to meet increasing demand for years to come. Also, the waterfowl enclosure is designed for use in emergencies such as oil spills.
Below: A barred owl looks down on the Shelter site after the waterfowl enclosure and flight cage have been constructed.