California Raptor Center temporarily closed to the public


A Letter from Bret Stedman

A Bird's-Eye View of 39 Years with Raptors

In early January, 1982 I rode my bicycle south from campus to the UC Davis Raptor Center in search of a volunteer opportunity and a student research project (for a couple of academic units towards my Zoology degree). It was a cold, overcast day and upon arrival I was immediately drawn to the first raptor enclosure I saw. It held two Great Horned Owls whose names were Clacker and Eli. Clacker was a relatively tall Great Horned Owl and Eli, as I remember, was a shorter, stockier bird.


Originally from the Bay Area, volunteer Ross Lewin currently lives in Sacramento. He works as a Registered Veterinary Technician at Old Towne Animal Hospital in Fair Oaks, where they mainly see companion animals and the feral chickens for which Fair Oaks is locally renowned. 

Ross started volunteering at the California Raptor Center at the end of 2016. In his time at the CRC, he has grown partial to a few birds over the years. “Sullivan, Phoenix and Ash are up there but my favorite has to be our late resident Red-shoulder, Mikey,” he says.

Raising Raptors: California Raptor Center's Nursery

Raising raptor chicks in the raptor nursery begins with rescuing orphaned chicks from dangerous situations

(Please see "Rescue: Is this Baby Really an Orphan?”)

Steps to Raising Raptors “Inside the Nursery”

Brooder: Newly hatched chicks (“hatchlings”) are placed in insulated plastic boxes called brooders where the downy chicks are maintained at an even, warm temperature and humidity, under controlled lighting and reduced sound.


Intern of the Year

Emily is a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Spanish. Emily also received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the College of Biological Sciences for her independent lab research and GPA. Prior to graduating, she was a volunteer at the California Raptor Center for 2 years. For the last few months, she has also been working with the marketing and social media team with the CRC as an intern.

A Baby Season Like No Other

Baby season—the peak reproductive months for local raptors, falling roughly between February and August—is always one of the busiest times at the California Raptor Center. Staff and volunteers expect to be bustling about the facility, working long hours in the heat of the summer to care for the inevitable influx of baby raptors. It is an annual, anticipated challenge, but 2020 presented a whole new set of hardships on top of the norm: with a global pandemic that led to lockdowns and closures in early spring, the CRC faced baby season with only a skeleton crew of essential staff.

Volunteer Spotlight: Joleen Maiden

Volunteering Champ

Joleen fell in love with birds when she was about 7 years old. A friend's talking parrot was what first captured her attention–she got her own first large parrot in 1981 and hired a behaviorist, who ultimately introduced her to Bird Rescue of Santa Rosa. She became a raptor rehabilitation volunteer at Bird Rescue and has continued on and off for the past 38 years.

Generous Gift from the Avangrid Foundation

Thanks to a generous gift from Avangrid Foundation the California Raptor Center is able to expand the role of our Volunteer Coordinator, Julie Cotton.  She will develop educational programs for students and volunteers and will work with our ambassador birds, providing training and ensuring their best welfare. Julie’s position also provides greater access to CRC staff when local wildlife groups and the public bring injured birds to the center.