The phone rang and a frantic voice at the other end of the line said, “I just hit an owl with my car, and now, it's on the edge of the highway.”
This sort of call is not uncommon. Urban and suburban growth in the Tampa Bay area is resulting in an increasing number of birds and animals being injured and/or pushed out of their habitats. The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay rescues, raises, rehabilitates, and releases hundreds of wild, native birds of prey annually across the Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk Counties of Florida. In addition, we provide transportation and facilitate solutions for non-bird of prey species; deploy rapid response teams to treat and transport to the best facility for the species; host environmental/nature education events for the general public, including children’s programs; and, work in conjunction with utility companies and other corporations to provide solutions for avian conflicts to reduce mortality.
Going the Distance to Help the Animals
The need is great. Currently, there is no single facility that can accommodate all of the different species of birds of prey that we have in our area for rehabilitation and flight conditioning simultaneously. Historically, injured raptors in the Tampa Bay area have been rescued and transferred to the Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland (200+ miles round-trip) from Brandon. Non-raptor species were either sent to Back to Nature in Kissimmee or Save Our Sea Birds in Sarasota. Our goal is to greatly reduce the time and cost involved in transporting patients by establishing a central facility to provide the care for raptors and other species in the Tampa Bay area. Accordingly, the ultimate need (and our organization’s ultimate goal) is to establish the first Bird of Prey Rehabilitation Center in the Tampa Bay Area in an easily accessible area to serve injured, sick and orphaned birds. This will require large sums of funding to acquire land; install basic utilities and modular buildings as temporary operational space; purchase a vehicle (or two) and build an appropriate number of mews and flight cages. This is why we are turning to you now.
Our Goal - In Phases
The important role that The Raptor Center plays in rescuing, rehabbing and releasing birds of prey is supported largely by volunteers and generous donors. In 2020-21, we are launching a three-phase capital campaign to find a permanent home for our center. In Phase 1, our goal is to purchase or obtain a grant of 5-10 acres of property in Hillsborough County with an existing structure that will become our rehabilitation clinic. On that property, we will build flight cages for the smaller birds (Screech Owls, American Kestrels, Burrowing Owls, Red-Shouldered Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and Barn Owls). While Phase 1 is being completed, we will begin raising funds for Phase 2 to build larger flight cages for the bigger birds and further develop our land. In Phase 3, we will complete our development by adding our education center, where we will educate the Tampa Bay community about conservation and how to lessen their impact on our wildlife. We estimate that all three phases will total approximately $2.6 million. We are a non-profit 501(c)3 and are completely reliant on donated funds. This means that without help from generous donors like you, we will not achieve our goals, the needs will go unmet, and the animals will suffer.
Will You Help Us?
Can we count on you to make a donation to this important cause? By making a tax-deductible donation to our capital campaign, you'll be directly contributing to our mission and making a real difference. To say thank you, we offer the following opportunities:
We believe every donation is important. When you donate $10-$25, we’d love the opportunity to recognize you by placing your name on our website and in our annual newsletter as a supporter in our mission to save Tampa Bay’s wildlife.
Personalized Decorative Tile ($150)
A wall in our Education Center will be decorated with beautiful, personalized tiles. When you contribute $150, we’ll dedicate a personalized tile to you (or a person of your choice) on that wall to commemorate your help in supporting our cause. You will also be recognized on our website and in our annual newsletter indicating your support.
Personalized Educational Event ($250)
People get a better understanding of wildlife when it is in their midst. We will be happy to attend your event with our bird ambassadors to help your guests understand why conservation is important when you donate $250. You will also be recognized on our website and in our annual newsletter indicating your support.
Invitations to Our Exclusive Events ($500)
When you donate $500, you'll receive invitations for you and a guest to the special events we will hold throughout the year. You will also be recognized on our website and in our annual newsletter indicating your support.
Invitation to a Bird Release ($1,000)
Nothing is quite so amazing as watching a wild bird of prey launch itself back into the wild. This exhilarating experience will be yours when you donate $1,000 or more to our efforts. You will also be recognized on our website and in our annual newsletter indicating your support.
Please help us in the following ways:
1. Donate what you can, no amount is too small, and donations are tax-deductible
2. If you, or someone you know, has property to sell or give, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Share on all social media with hashtag #savetampabayswildlife
4. Email this GoFundMe link and these steps to all of the contacts you know
5. Leverage any avenue you have to make this go viral (or send leads/tips to email@example.com)
Thank you for your support.