Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:April 21st, 2011 11:16 EST
The Ambassadors of Peace are at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center!

The Ambassadors of Peace are at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center!

By Tom Ski

Montana Raptor Conservation Center located in Bozeman, Montana was highlighted twoweeks ago, offering readers the chance to see the amazing work that MRCC is doing with the saving and preservation of eagles, hawks, and raptors of all shapes and sizes.  This is one of those facilities that people barely see nowadays.  They are all about healing beautiful creatures and educating people of all ages on the history, majesty, and the need of raptors in our society.

Last week we covered the work MRCC is doing to save a young Golden Eagle who was harmed when a shotgun had ripped through the young messenger`s body and fractured her ulna almost beyond repair.  We highlighted the good people who operated on this amazing creature to try and fix what mankind had shattered. 

This week we are concentrating on the Ambassador Birds that MRCC have on hand for use in their educational programs.  From school assemblies, to adult education classes, to small business and corporate events, MRCC "s educational program topics cover the types of raptors living in Montana, as well as their impact and importance to the ecosystem.

The first Ambassador Bird to be highlighted is Chaco.  Chaco is a stunning nine-year-old Swainson Hawk.  Swainson Hawk`s have suffered population declines since the first half of the century and were Blue-listed in the United States from 1972 to 1982.   Named after William Swainson, a British naturalist, this amazing raptor is a look at true beauty. 

The great Chaco was found as a fledgling in 2001.  Discovered just outside Great Falls, Montana, Chaco posses a congenitally deformed humerus which prevents his ability to fly.  However, he is a fantastic ambassador for MRCC. 

People learn many unique things from Chaco.  Being a Swainson Hawk, Chaco can `tell` groups about the fact that his species are summer residents of grasslands and agricultural habitats in the western United States and Canada.  Nesting in trees and shrubs, Chaco`s species lay two to three eggs in a frightening flimsy nest made of sticks.  The entire population of Swainson Hawks are migratory, and travel great distances to leave the cold, gray winter behind to enjoy the warmth of South America - primarily Argentina.  Chaco`s name actually comes from a province in Argentina, and this amazing ambassador is referred to as the farmer`s friend," because Swainson Hawk`s eat insects on a regular basis to lend a hand.

Another MRCC ambassador is named Bu.  And Bu is a beautiful Great Horned Owl.

For a little background, the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) was first seen in the Virginia colonies, so its species name was created from the Latinized form of the name of this territory (originally named for Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen).  MRCC`s majestic Bu is an adult male and weighs about two pounds.  Bu was found out of his nest in March of 1999 in Billings, Montana.  As a nestling, Bu was `imprinted` by his human caretakers.  Now, when a bird is imprinted, he cannot be successfully released back to the wild, because as the owl matures and looks for food or a mate, it may actually choose a human.

Because of this situation, Bu was transferred to MRCC to become an ambassador for his species - and groups have loved him ever since.  Male and female Great Horned Owls have similar plumage, however the size, behavior and vocalization can differentiate boy from girl.  When they nest, the Great Horned Owl often uses the stick nests that were created by other birds like hawks, crows, and herons. The large, yellow eyes of the Great Horned Owl are fixed in the sockets, which means they have to turn their heads to look for predators or prey.  And, amazingly enough, Owls can turn their heads two hundred seventy degrees, or about three quarters of the way around.

There are two other incredible ambassadors at MRCC, including a female turkey vulture named, Pilgrim, and a red-tailed hawk named, Sammy, who will soon be introduced in future articles.

MRCC is simply a fantastic center; a non-profit raptor rehabilitation organization that is truly dedicated to the conservation of raptors.  And, now is the time for the world at large to meet these incredible people and take a look at this 13-acre property that is being used to save the raptors.  MRCC is also reaching out to others to let them see that these incredible messengers bring continuity, friendship, and peace to our world. 

I encourage all reader`s to click on the below link to see Chaco and Bu in all their glory.  I guarantee that you, your organization, your company - everyone - will fall in love with these amazing creatures.

Information on the educational programs provided by MRCC is available at:


Donations are NEEDED by MRCC.  Please see below the variety of ways you can donate to MRCC and become a part of preserving these Ambassadors of Peace!

Tax deductible donations can be made by sending a check or money order to MRCC.  OR, You can click on the DONATE button located on MRCC`s site and make a contribution through PayPal.

Birds of prey need food.  And you can help with this by purchasing gift certificates for rats, mice, and quail from Layne Labs at:  

You can make Wish List donations to MRCC by giving everyday items from paper towels to postage stamps to gas cards and gift cards to Walmart®, Home Depot®, or Lowes® AND you can use and to raise money for MRCC every time you search or shop. is a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue to the charities its users designate. is an online shopping mall which donates up to 30% of each purchase to your favorite cause!

Report an Injured Raptor Quickly!

MRCC:  (406) 585-1211
All West Veterinary (Dr. Karyn Cook):  (406) 586-4919
MT Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks:  (406) 994-4042

Montana Raptor Conservation Center
P.O. Box 4061
Bozeman, MT 59772
(406) 585-1211