Raptor rehabilitation programs allow thousands of raptors to be released back into the wild each year that otherwise would have perished without medical treatment. Although species-specific and age-specific results from research conducted across the nation vary greatly, there is a general consensus that raptor rehabilitation is an important part of raptor conservation. We investigated differences in diagnoses and treatment outcomes, along with survival and release rates for 1225 individuals of 17 species admitted between 2010 and 2014 to the Southeastern Raptor Center (SRC), a raptor rehabilitation center in the southeastern United States, to identify trends related to age, species, and activity type (diurnal vs. nocturnal). Adult nocturnal raptors were admitted more frequently than young birds, but we found the opposite trend for diurnal raptors. Young diurnal raptors had higher release rates than adults, likely due to their less-severe injuries. Nocturnal species were more often involved in vehicle collisions than diurnal raptors and were admitted most commonly for head trauma. Diurnal birds were more frequently shot than nocturnal raptors, but were treated most often for fractures, body trauma, and other injuries and illnesses. The SRC had an overall raptor release rate of 38%, which is higher than that of many other rehabilitation centers, and a survival rate of 42%. These results, based on a large number of individuals and a wide diversity of raptor species, may be helpful for informing and improving raptor rehabilitation efforts in the region.
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Vol. 52 • No. 3