As Bob Spillane approaches his 70th birthday in June, he is contemplative. He has had a long and rewarding career in the textile industry, but always had a love of nature; specifically, he has had a lifelong love for birds. “I had a great career – but if I had to do it over again, I might have done it at Carolina Raptor Center” he said with a laugh.
Two years ago, Bob started volunteering weekly at Carolina Raptor Center’s Medical Center, feeding the raptors and giving them medication. He loves his volunteer work for many reasons – spending time outdoors, staying healthy with good exercise – but his biggest reward is getting to see the birds released after they’ve been healed. Bob has been part of the release of many rehabilitated birds of prey, including Cooper Hawks and Red Shoulder Hawks – and he has also released two ospreys from his Lake Norman home. His interest in rehabilitation, Bob said, started early in his life.
When Bob was just seven years old, his grandfather found a baby pigeon in a park in downtown Philadelphia. The small bird had fallen out of its nest and needed to be taken care of, so Bob raised the pigeon himself, named it Lindy and taught it how to fly. This early memory launched a lifetime passion for all birds and a deep appreciation for rehabilitation and release.
“Raptors are amazing birds,” Bob said. “We have to work harder to protect them and their natural environment.” There is no organization he would rather volunteer with than the Raptor Center, which “does a wonderful job of just that.”
The “Our Quest” Campaign demonstrates the Raptor Center’s commitment to conservation through education, research and rehabilitation. A core part of the project is the Raptor Medical Center, which will increase capacity for the care and treatment of injured birds of prey such as eagles, owls and hawks.
Bob is excited that this new facility will allow the Raptor Center’s medical team to serve more birds with state-of-the-art technology. Investing in this critical infrastructure, Bob said, “will allow the Raptor Center to do an even better job at rehabilitation and expose more people to this important work.”
A NEW FACILITY MEANS NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED
Each year, more than three hundred volunteers contribute over 15,000 hours to support the Carolina Raptor Center. These volunteers help further the mission of the Raptor Center while making it a better place for both birds of prey and visitors.
Volunteers are vital to the Raptor Center’s success, and have the unique opportunity to develop skills in medical, resident bird care, property and docent roles. Volunteers are trained, mentored and supported in their work, and are empowered to advocate for raptor conservation in the Charlotte region.
“Our Quest will allow us to engage many more volunteers in immersive educational opportunities with birds of prey,” Jim Warren, Executive Director said. “The new facility will feature expanded learning facilities, group space and volunteer work space, and improved amenities and exhibits that enhance both volunteer and visitor experiences.”
To learn more and get involved, check out Carolina Raptor Center volunteer opportunities here.