Our hearts go out to all our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center volunteers and rehabbers during this time.
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to three of our beloved Education Ambassadors this past month: Martha, our Great horned owl, Chuck, one of our Red-tailed hawks, and Ray, our American crow. All three have been educating the public about native Pennsylvania wildlife for many years.
Ray came to our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 2001, Chuck in 2002, and Martha in 2005. These amazing creatures have brought so much joy to everyone who worked with them, and the WRC will not be the same without them.
As we remember our friends and coworkers, our staff and volunteers share stories of their time with our wonderful ambassadors, Martha, Chuck, and Ray.
Each ambassador was able to connect and educate eager visitors, campers and program attendees during their time with us. In particular, a large portion of Chuck and Martha’s numbers came from the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, which they began attending in 2017. We are so very fortunate to have been able to teach so many over the years about local wildlife.
- Ray: 2,004 people
- Chuck: 82,680 people
- Martha: 108,649 people
When Martha came to us in 2005 as an adult patient, her left wing suffered an injury in the wild. Due to her injury, she was deemed non-releasable and a good candidate for ambassadorship.
As an ambassador, Martha was not only an educator about her species, but she was a rehabber in her own right for her species as well. Martha was a foster mom, and as such, played an important role in the rehabilitation and release of orphaned great horned owlets! In the last 10 years, Martha has helped to raise over 30 owlets. Some of those little ones have been released in public places like Frick Park, and her released foster owlets can even be heard hooting at night around Pittsburgh!
Not only are her foster babies, and even all their babies, continuing her legacy, but her memory lives on in the tens of thousands of people who have had the privilege of being in her awe-inspiring presence over the last 17 years.
Chuck arrived at our wildlife center as an adult in 2002, but it is believed that he was born in the late 1990s.
Chuck sustained an injury to his wing, but still enjoyed resting high up on his perches and communicating with the local red-tailed hawks in the area while in his enclosure.
This 90’s heartthrob had been stealing the hearts of not only the local red-tail hawks in Verona, but also the hearts of countless staff, volunteers, and of the thousands of people he educated across the greater Pittsburgh area.
Ray arrived at our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 2001 as an adult patient and was our longest-running education ambassador resident. His right wing was injured in the wild, preventing him from being released.
Ray captivated hundreds of people while demonstrating the crow’s unique ability to mimic vocalizations (like how parrots can mimic). His quick corvid cleverness also never ceased to impress the staff and volunteers that he encountered over his 20+ years at the Wild Side.
Ray was an icon at the Wildlife Center, evidenced by how many hearts he touched, the minds he opened, and the smiles he created as an ambassador.
As we are all saddened by the passing of these amazing creatures. We thank each and every friend, both two-legged and four, that surrounded Martha, Chuck, and Ray with so much love.
If Martha, Chuck, and or Ray have made an impact on your life, please consider making a donation to continue their mission of saving injured and orphaned wildlife in our region.