During my Vermont trip we made a quick stop at VINS one afternoon. VINS – the Vermont Institute of Natural Science – is one of those organizations that does simply amazing work. They are primarily a bird research and rehabilitation facility, taking in avian species ranging from common songbirds to large raptors that have suffered all manner of injuries. They rehabilitate and release what birds they can and provide a home for many raptors whose injuries prevent their release.
After hiking Quechee Gorge we stopped at VINS and toured their permanent resident collection. To be light-hearted, you could call it the Gimpy Raptor Collection, a dozen or so birds that all have a permanent disability. There are a lot of droopy wings, missing eyes, that sort of thing – raptors that have had sad encounters with cars and the like, who simply couldn’t survive in the wild anymore.
VINS provides a good home for these guys. They have fairly large enclosures that attempt to mimic their natural habitats as much as possible. They’re used in a variety of educational programs to help promote raptor knowledge and environmental awareness. All the kinds of things that I love to see.