Flight-conditioning is the final step before release to the wild. Our cage designer and builder, Terry Heitz, created each of them to serve the needs of a particular species group. Among our outdoor buildings are several with unusual design features such as continuous flight corridors and elevated roosting or recovery areas. Terry's drawings of floor plans [FP] and elevations (EL] are available via links to new browser windows in the photo captions below.
Named for its tall south wall, The Heights is our new modular flight cage. Inspired by recent increases in raptor admissions, the design allows the building to be used as one, two or three habitats. Individually, two sections are 16' x 20', and one is 16' x 24'. All three sections can be combined to produce a single 1,000 sq. ft. habitat with an L-shaped design. Alternatively, combinations of two sections can yield rectangular areas of 640 sq. ft. or 700 sq. ft. Large louvered doors between the sections create vision barriers when closed.
The Pool Hall is a year-round facility for aquatic birds. The building houses four fiberglass pools ranging in surface area from roughly 16 to 72 square feet and in volume from about 200 to 1,000 gallons. Each pool has its own water supply, overflow standpipe and drain, and removable haul-outs. Netted panels around each pool provide vision barriers to other parts of the building. Species that have recovered here include Common and Red-throated Loons; pelagic birds such as Northern Gannets, Murres, Guillemots, Shearwaters, Grebes, etc.; and many duck species. The Pool Hall is dedicated to the memory of Ken Bailey.
The Loon Pond is an outdoor three-season aquatic habitat with a surface area of about 400 square feet. It is surrounded by a greenhouse hoop frame covered with high-strength netting. Fed by the overflow from a nearby well, the water coming into the pond drains via a standpipe, creating a continuous turnover of fresh water. The pond can be stocked with live fish. Its primary occupants are Common Loons, but the habitat can also house other aquatic species as needed.
The Owl Compound was designed to meet the needs of our most common raptor species: Barred Owls. Nicknamed “Fort Strix” (Strix is the genus of forest-dwelling owl species), it features four territories connected by sliding doors or flight tunnels that can be closed or opened as needed.
The Large Raptor Compound features a central group of roomy cages, each of which has access to a surrounding continuous flyway approximately 160' in circumference. The entire building has a compact footprint of 52' x 64'. This innovative design provides opportunities for unlimited linear flight when a bird chooses to fly multiple laps around the flyway. We house mostly larger raptors, including bald eagles, in this compound.
Taking inspiration from a design by Canada's Kay McKeever of The Owl Foundation, our Small Raptor Compound features three territories connected by a flight corridor and elevated tunnel around the rear of the building.
Casa Corvus is a house for larger members of the corvid family – crows or ravens. It features a spacious main area (12' x 43') plus a look-out tower and a flight tunnel connecting the two ends of the main area. A bird flying a complete loop through the main area and tunnel would travel roughly 100 feet.
The Eagle Recovery habitat is for birds that no longer need an indoor hospital cage but that are not quite ready for flight exercise in our large raptor compound flyway. It has a large (16' x 70') main area plus a separate but connecting area, 12' x 16'. A second-level aerie (roughly 100 square feet, not including vestibule) looks into the main area and can house orphaned nestlings or serve as a hospital cage for injured adults. This habitat is dedicated to the memory of Benedicta.
Photo archives include earlier facilities still in use today.