Tuesday, April 12, 2016

TRC Celebrates Volunteers - Flight Crew

Flight crew volunteers assist TRC staff with training professional
peers on techniques for this part of rehabilitation. 

April 10-16, 2016 is National Volunteer Week.  Each weekday this week, we will feature just one of the many crews of volunteers who make such a difference.

Lily Carey, TRC rehabilitator, wrote a piece on TRC’s volunteer flight crew.  It describes not only what they do on their shifts, but how important they are to TRC’s mission. 

“I have never worked at a place with more dedicated and enjoyable volunteers than at TRC. It takes a special type of person to not only volunteer their free time, but to commit with great enthusiasm to the care of our patients and fulfillment of our mission. One group of volunteers I work closely with is TRC’s flight crew. Reconditioning is such an important part of the rehabilitation process at TRC that we have a dedicated crew of people who focus on providing recuperating raptors opportunities for exercise.  Crews that handle small and medium sized raptors often exercise 6-8 birds during a 4 hour shift, five days a week.  TRC’s eagle crews often exercise 2-3 eagles each shift.  The flight crews accomplish a high volume of work with a smile on their faces even when they clean messy outdoor flight pens that house 3-4 red-tailed hawks at a time!  
TRC flight crew with a great horned owl.  The
creance method is used in reconditioning
to strengthen muscles and build endurance.

During the winter, crews that exercise small and medium sized birds usually take a hiatus from flight because few birds are released during our harsh Minnesotan winters.  The eagle crews, however, work all year round as we continue to release eagles at known wintering grounds.  These crews brave cold temperatures and deep snow to help these patients rebuild weakened muscles and cardiovascular endurance so they can be released in top athletic condition. 

One of my favorite moments of spring is when I walk into the laundry room (the flight crew’s headquarters) and the small/medium bird crew is back! It feels like our team is then complete as we prepare birds we have overwintered to return to the wild.  This week is all about giving thanks and appreciation to our amazing volunteers.  Thank you flight crews for your passion and dedication in helping our patients with the final leg of their recovery. TRC truly would not be the same without your enthusiasm, passion and fun-loving spirits. Thank you!”


  1. Thanks for sharing this with us! Some really amazing features.
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  2. We try to attend the fall raptor release each year and it is always a great event; thanks to a lot of volunteers.