Bald eagles, ospreys, hawks and other native raptors are often discovered injured or poisoned in South Florida, usually at the hands of humans. Wildlife Rescue of Dade County founder Lloyd Brown has been on the front lines of rehabilitating these magnificent creatures since 1993, donating his time and personal resources. Until now, there was not a bona fide flight cage in existence here (the closest one is near Orlando). The Miami-Dade firefighter and passionate naturalist has worked for decades to change that scenario. On Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m., Brown will unveil the addition of a long-needed flight cage to the region.
Located at his Homestead-based non-profit, the new flight cage — at 100 feet long, 24 feet wide and 16 feet high — will exceed the standards set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the largest birds commonly rehabilitated in South Florida. Brown gushes much like a proud new papa: "This is no ordinary flight cage. It is more than large enough to allow birds of prey to practice flying, while keeping them safely confined until they’re ready to return to the wild."
He intends to make Wildlife Rescue's new flight cage available to all legally permitted rehabilitators. But to do so Brown still needs to meet his fundraising goal of $36,000. The pricey enclosure has been funded to date via grassroots giving. Once entirely funded, the structure will have cameras installed to film recovering birds in flight. The video can be slowed or stopped to observe a bird’s range of motion and wing symmetry during flight, giving a better idea of their condition and potential for release.
"For some birds, if they can’t fly, they can’t feed themselves, so this flight cage and its cameras will be game-changers when it comes to an animal's post-release survival," Brown notes.
The flight Cage dedication will take place Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m. at 12055 SW 240 St, Princeton, FL 33032. Attendees will be able to observe flight-testing of rehabilitated birds.
ABOUT: Wildlife Rescue of Dade County was founded in 1995 by Lloyd Brown. He and his WRDC volunteers care for all indigenous wild creatures, from orphaned baby squirrels and raccoons to turkey vultures, owls and more. A licensed 501c3, it operates solely on donations. To complete the flight cage and help raptors and other animals recover (there is no other viable rescue alternative) one can donate directly to WRDC via these platforms:
Venmo to @Wildlife-RescueOfDadeCounty
CashApp to $wildliferescue