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Written by Grae O’Toole, Director, Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation
Spring brings warmer weather, budding plants, and new life. VINS is happy to celebrate the life of one of our education ambassadors, Ogden. This spring Ogden, our retired Turkey Vulture, turns (what we estimate to be) 40 years old!
Ogden arrived at VINS on October 28th, 2002 from Wildlife Experiences in Rapid City, South Dakota. We, unfortunately, don’t have detailed records of her time there, but they estimated she was in her mid-twenties when VINS received her. How Ogden came to be injured is not very well known either. She was likely hit by a car and suffered a fracture to her right-wing and the tips of several of her toes had been damaged due to frostbite. The fracture to her wing was severe enough that she would never be able to fly again.
For 17 years Ogden educated the public at VINS. Guests were able to learn about the important role Turkey Vultures play in the ecosystem, their unique anatomy, and behaviors that make them perfect scavengers. Vultures tend to get a bad wrap because of the food they eat and their appearance, but staff like to think Ogden was able to change many perspectives. Vultures are beautiful birds that do a huge service to the environment, cleaning up messes that would otherwise rot, smell, and become a breeding ground for disease.
Ogden is a crowd favorite of many staff members (including myself) because of her endearing personality. She recognizes the staff she spends the most time with and always gives new staff members a hard time when they first began training with her. This is potentially why many staff gravitate towards her. She is not quick to trust people, but once that trust is built she is gentle and friendly. She spends a good portion of her time roaming around the rehabilitation building investigating every corner. She can often be found staring at her reflection in the baby bird room, jumping into the laundry basket, or nipping at staff ankles.
Ogden no longer does formal programs and has been thoroughly enjoying her retirement. In fact, the first year she was officially retired she surprised everyone by laying one, beautiful egg. Up until this time staff were unsure if she was male or female, so all were excited to know for sure. Since she no longer participates in programs she lives out her winter months inside the rehabilitation building where she can stay nice and warm and spends her summer months sunning herself in an outdoor enclosure with a large window to watch as guests walk by from a distance.
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