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Thread: Mistreatment of Raptor Center, Not of Peregrine Falcon...

  1. #1
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    Default Mistreatment of Raptor Center, Not of Peregrine Falcon...

    I realize I haven't posted in these forums for ages (except for the one or two posts I may have made today or yesterday), but I have a problem. This is going to be me venting, although I'm interested in hearing what you all think, too.

    (Let me preemptively apologize for the long-ness of this post.)

    To those who don't know, I volunteer for a raptor rehabilitation center. I also have a LiveJournal. My journal is friends-only, so it's not like everyone can read it. However, there was someone who I had on my friends list who really stabbed me in the back.

    Anyway, on this journal, every weekend, I'd do a report on the birds and how they are doing, because my friends are interested in that, and I because I thought it was a good way to encourage awareness. On off days that I get called in to help, I've done entries for those as well.

    This involves a peregrine falcon that the center has had for a while. I won't go into detail because this whole incident has made me super-paranoid, and I feel somehow responsible. Forum posts can often be found on search engines, and the person in question is someone I know from the internet. (However, if anyone would like to know the story in more detail, feel free to PM me.)

    In the time we've had her, her recovery has been very frustrating, and in my journal, I'd mentioned her in my entries, but I never indicated that in any way she was being wrongfully treated. The center is an awesome place to be, and I feel so lucky to be able to work so closely with such amazing birds. I've been there for three years. The person in charge there is a really good person, and she knows what she's doing. She does a damn good job. She would never, in any way, do anything to mistreat the birds. Nothing is as much priority there as the well-being of each and every bird. If things were otherwise, I certainly would not be volunteering there.

    In one of my journal entries (which was mostly about an eagle), I mentioned the peregrine (in saying that I found her behavior amusing), and this "friend" of mine, who happens to be a falconer, suddenly decides to start asking me all of these questions. He usually did not post much in my journal, up until then. He didn't even respond to responses I'd made in his journal. Anyway, he suddenly started asking me all of these questions about the bird - how they knew she was female, how old was she, what exactly was wrong with her, etc. I told him, and then he started offering to take the bird off of the center's hands. He said he could train her to catch a few ducks for him and then perhaps sometime, release her. (But I do not believe the "release her" part one bit.) He even gave me his phone number. I told him that I wasn't in charge, but he asked me to give his phone number to the person in charge.

    I didn't, mainly because I knew what the person in charge would say. The center is perfectly capable of taking care of injured birds, and we have an avian vet (who knows raptors) who volunteers her time for the center. The person in charge of the center knows what she is doing. In no way do we need someone to take this bird from us - we are more than capable of taking care of her. Also, giving her to a falconer would defeat the purpose of the center, since that purpose is to rehabilitate and release wild birds. And, I barely knew the falconer guy, so there was no way in hell I'd advise trusting a bird to him. Just because I didn't know him well. And I know that the person in charge wouldn't, either.

    He came back saying that due to vet bills, he could not afford the bird but that I should give the bird to his friend, a vet/falconer in another town, kind of far from here. So... I just kind of let it go and wrote it off. I was never rude to the guy. But I found his pushiness disturbing and did not want him involved with the center, so I did not tell the center about him.

    Well, this past Saturday when volunteering, I found out that the guy had called authorities on the center, claiming that the peregrine was being mistreated. I felt horrible about this, because I knew from his location and the fact that he was a falconer, that the situation involved me. I apologized profusely and let the person in charge know that I was in no way trying to harm the center, and that I did not feel that any birds were being mistreated. I'd never said such a thing.

    I love this place. I can't imagine the emptiness I'd feel if something happened to it and (god forbid) it closed down. I love the birds, and I feel I connect with them. I love helping them. Though it might not be a paying job for me (I wish it was), I feel it's what I live for, my purpose in life. It would kill me if anything happened to the place.

    The place is permitted and is completely legal. They follow everything that's required of them by law. So, technically, they can't get into trouble for breaking laws or anything. But the main worry is... will this guy do something terrible for the center's name?

    In looking at his journal (but mainly, his LJ community), I have found (and printed) out things about him which indicate that he might not be so right in the head, or that perhaps he could end up mistreating one of his birds. In one entry, he talks of training his red-tailed hawk to hunt wolves. Aside from the whole wolf-killing issue, the main issue in this situation is that, while hawks are tough, they are not in any way meant to handle a wolf, and sending one after a wolf would pretty much be a death sentence for the poor hawk. Again, I also have the guy's phone number, and a different falconer friend of mine (who is totally unrelated to all of this) said that red-tails don't hunt wolves in falconry, and that a falconer shouldn't even joke about such a thing (the guy wasn't joking, btw). He also thought perhaps his license could get revoked for that.

    If it just involved me, I'd report him. I would find the proper information I needed in order to report him, and I would have done so, since I have stuff that he's written, AND his phone number, as well as the city and state he lives in.

    But this involves the center, and they've mentioned they're really worried about this guy going around and saying horrible things about them (he also reported them to some group that specializes in peregrines - not sure if it was the Peregrine Fund, or something different). While the center is a good place, they are a small nonprofit, and money is always needed. It's always a worry, and it's been a worry even moreso lately. The last thing they need is some crazy person ruining their reputation. This is why I'm not sure what to do. I want so badly, more than anything, to report the guy, but I'm afraid that if I do, he'll retaliate more by taking revenge on the center. The person in charge there is hoping they'll just drop it, and that will be that. (He's never even been to the center, by the way.)

    But I hate, hate, hate the fact that this guy REALLY should not have his falconry license, and that he's doing something absolutely unreasonable and terrible to get back at the center for not giving him a peregrine. I'm really very hurt and torn up about all of this.

    (And yes, I have been being very careful about anything I say ever since - the guy's off my f-list and has been banned from posting in my journal, btw.)

  2. #2

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    I'm really sorry to hear that. The place sounds really lovely and I hope things work out for it and you guys can find some way to make the guy back off. I wouldn't trust a falconer I just met, let alone a falconer like that. He seems unstable. Is there a way for the center to report him? He needs his license revoked for life.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, there are other things that make him seem unstable, like the fact that he's very centered on himself. It seems as if he uses his birds to boost his ego, and in one journal entry, he made it evident that he has lied to at least one person (though it didn't pertain to falconry). Granted, none of these things are things - at least, I don't think so - which could get his license taken away. The wolf thing... I think I might have something with that, though. That's the worst thing I found on him.

    Yeah... he'd been on my friends list for a while, but I wish I'd you know, realized just how stuck he was on himself before all of this happened.

    I don't know. The stuff I've found on the guy is stuff I've found after that day I volunteered, so I haven't talked to anyone at the center about these things yet. Though I could mention these things (and very well might), I still kind of thing that maybe they'd be afraid to do anything at the center, again because of the center's reputation. Of course, he'd no longer be reputable if his license were taken away... but I can't guarantee that that would happen or that he wouldn't be able to come down hard on the center for that.

    (BTW, the other falconer I know is a decent guy. He is not stuck on himself at all, and I didn't even realize he was an apprentice falconer until the other day. He's on my side.)

    I tried not to judge, to be anti-falconer, though I know rehabbers and falconers often don't get along. But, damn. Look what I get for not judging.

  4. #4

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    Some falconers are horrible I'll agree, but not all [my dad met a few that really nice and loved the birds immensely and they released them back into the wild after a short period of being with them].

    It might be good to tell the center of the things so that way they will have at least the whole story on the person.

  5. #5
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    Yeah. And like I said, that one guy on my journal is nice. He also thinks none of this is my fault. (But I can't help but feel like it is, on some level.)

    Yeah, I might have to tell them when I go in next, which will probably be on Saturday.

  6. #6

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    I agree with the person on your journal--you couldn't help it that the one turned out to be a touch crazy.

    Good luck with everything! I hope this doesn't hurt the center too much, I'd like to see it up and running still.

  7. #7

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    I'm sorry to hear about that.

    I hope everything goes well. Good luck.
    [SIZE=1][/SIZE]

  8. #8

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    It isn't your fault, Red. The guy is an unstable prig and should be written off as such. The only thing you could possibly do differently is remove the name of the center from your posts and that's a really minor thing. Don't feel bad. The lady in charge can handle it, and I'm sure the center will be fine. Don't fret.

  9. #9
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    Yeah... I have a ton of posts about the center, but I was thinking of making them all private. Though, removing the name isn't a bad idea, either. But then, wouldn't they still be able to figure it out based off of where I live?

  10. #10
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    *frowns* If he's really making noise, you could always sue him and get his license revoked. And any news coverage would counteract the noise he's making, as well as expose him as a hypocrite.

    EDIT: This is of course a mere suggestion, which in all probably wouldn't be nearly so simple.
    Last edited by cheetah; February 23rd, 2010 at 08:01 PM.
    "If you are worthy of his affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave. He keeps his free will though he loves, and will not do for you what he thinks unreasonable; but if he once gives himself to you, it is with absolute confidence and fidelity of affection." -Theophile Gautier

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