Our Wildlife Ambassadors are rehabilitation admissions which have
permanent disabilities resulting in the inability to survive in the wild.
We use them in programs to educate the public about the natural history
of their species and share their background stories.
Since our Ambassadors cannot live free, we provide them with excellent living
conditions. They have daily maid services, favorite foods delivered by adoring
servants, frequent travel, and regular examinations by licensed veterinarians.
Titan is a Great-horned Owl who was hatched at SPWRC on May 10, 2010. She is so well-known; she even receives birthday cards. She is a very large owl weighing over four pounds and is very attached to her handler, Gail Barnes.
See extended information about Titan below.
Simon is a Chihuahuan Raven who came to SPWRC after being illegally held in a wire cage for 18-20 years by one person, then another 10 years by another person. The second owner died and had Simon transferred to us. He came to the Center in horrible condition. He had cut feathers and his beak and talons had not been trimmed causing him difficulty in eating and was unable to perch due to his long talons. His favorite phrases are "Hi Guys", "Water", and with a Texas drawl "Y-e-a-h".
Shadow is a Barred Owl who came to us from the Austin area after suffering a broken femur from being hit by a car. This owl is not native to our area but needed to be placed with a rehabilitation center as an educational bird. She is a member of our Ambassador family as owls are one of the most common raptors admitted to our facility.
Sterling is a Mississippi Kite coming to us from Amarillo. She could not be released back to the wild as she had been imprinted and no longer afraid of people. The Mississippi Kite is unique in their change in eye color when they return after migration to South America. While in South America, they consume large amounts of insects causing their eyes to turn red. At the Center, they are fed mice and beef heart.
The above picture is of one of our two Turkey Vultures. These birds have been at the Wildlife Center since the early 1990's and are very attached and protective of each other. Doc and Festus are two of the oldest Ambassador birds, exceeding 30 years with us, and were adults when admitted for care.
Turkey Vultures are very important to our environment and are sometimes referred to as the "Garbage Men of the Air". They are scavengers who dine on carrion and live in close proximity to humans. They dispose of carcasses and refuse which keeps the environment cleaner and safer for wildlife and humans alike. They have a bad reputation as they have an unpleasant habit of "throwing up" when they feel afraid or intimidated.
Several volunteers are assigned to Doc and Festus to be accountable for feeding them and keeping their mew clean. Turkey Vultures are social by nature and enjoy the company of others of their species.
Trooper is one of two Eastern Screech Owls to call Ambassador Row "home". She shares a mew with the other Eastern Screech Owl, Athena. Sharing a mew keeps the owls from becoming depressed and the ability to socialize contributes to a healthier environment.
Trooper was brought the Wildlife Center by a highway patrol officer. The owl had a soft tissue injury which inhibited his ability to fly more than a short distance. This would make it impossible to forage for food, escape life-threatening situations and survival in the wild. The officer asked for one favor, if the injuries to the owl prohibited his release, would we name it after him, hence the name "Trooper".
Samantha is a Red-tailed Hawk coming to us in 2005 from Wild Bird Rescue in Wichita Falls, Texas. She had suffered a head trauma due to being hit by a car and underwent several weeks of rehabilitation at their facility. When Samantha appeared to be healthy and strong enough to be released to the wild, she was transferred to us to spend time in our "Flight Cage". This would provide space for her to strengthen her flight muscles needed for release.
With more mobility and further observation, it was determined that Samantha's injuries were more substantial than originally thought resulting in deficiencies in depth perception and motor skills. This discovery prohibited her from being released as she would be unable to hunt.
Samantha is a beautiful example of the most common of hawks with her glorious red tail and pristine feathers. She eats mice, chicken legs, and beef heart. Eating is her favorite pastime and her weight is regularly monitored.
Athena is the other of the two Eastern Screech Owls at SPWRC. She arrived at our facility in 2003 after an apparent accident. She was stabilized and evaluated by a veterinarian who determined the damage to the eye was extensive and needed to be removed. Her injuries also resulted in an inability to fly.
Eastern Screech Owls are also referred to as "Transformer Owls" due to their ability to pull their wings in tight to their body, stretch up tall, and close their eyes, making them appear to be a tree branch.
Humphrey is a Peregrin Falcon who was discovered on the ground by an individual who took her to Wildlife Rehabilitators Bebe and Ardis McCasland in Big Spring, Texas. She was banded, which showed her to have been hatched on South Padre Island in October 2011. The McCasland's transported Humphrey to SPWRC, where she was admitted for rehab in the summer of 2014.
With examination by a veterinarian, it was determined she was blind in her right eye. The only raptors that can be released with eyesight in only one eye are owls, therefore, Humphrey became an Ambassador. The Peregrin Falcon is the fastest bird on earth with the ability to reach speeds of 270 mph in a swoop.
With over 100 Educational Programs given by SPWRC each year, in which Humphrey participates, the public is educated about their role in our environment, and the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals to the survival of these magnificent raptors.
Melvin is an Eastern Gray Squirrel who came into the Wildlife Center on March 24, 2021, after falling from his nest. Due to his fall, he sustained a head trauma resulting in neurological damage which caused balance and coordination issues. These disabilities kept him from being released and he is a resident in the Barn ensuring he has company all day.
Toenails is a male Swainson's Hawk who came to the Wildlife Center from Big Spring, Texas in August 2007. He was a juvenile hawk and had been released or had escaped from someone who had clipped off half of his talons, rendering him unable to stand, perch, or hunt. He was also severely emaciated and covered in an oily substance on his head, neck, and back, undoubtedly, he would have perished if he had not been brought in for treatment.
Toenails endured a period of intensive care while confined to an appropriate sized carrier. When he began to recover, he began to perch on a volunteers hand and later on a perch. As time passed, Toenails experienced a regrowth of his talons and was moved to a large mew in Ambassador Row allowing him to view the central area of the Center grounds, and the ability to fly onto perches.
Vincent is a Chihuahuan Raven who had been living with a family which kept her in their children's backyard fort. She could come and go as she pleased, however, was dependent on the family for food and shelter. The family moved away leaving Vincent behind. The neighbors began feeding her and after several months decided the bird needed a permanent home. They called the Wildlife Center and Vincent came to us as a first year juvenile in September 2006.
Vincent has an extensive vocabulary saying things like "Hello", "Fatso", "Barn Owl", and he has learned to "hoot" like an owl. When Ravens are content and happy, they are prone to learn more words. He is an omnivore with a diet consisting of mice, beef heart, fruits and vegetables. Vincent has a sweet tooth with his favorite treats being Vanilla Wafers and Fig Newton cookies.
Grumbles is another one of our Great-horned Owls. He came to the Center with a broken right wing. Grumbles is taken to educational programs with Titan to illustrate how much smaller the male is compared to the female of the species. Our permits are not propagation permits; therefore, he occupies a mew by himself.
Yoda is a Burrowing Owl who has been with us since she was a youngster. A dog had taken her into the house through the "doggy door" and presented her to his owner. The owner brought Yoda to us for rehabilitation in the summer of 2014. It was determined upon observation and examination that she suffered neurological damage affecting her eyesight and making it impossible for her to be returned to her natural habitat.
Yoda has a very gentle nature and was accepting of the leather jesses on her legs, taking to perching on the glove with ease. She is an excellent participant in the educational programs as she is calm and will demonstrate her "call" to the delight of the audience. She is one of the first birds used to train a volunteer on how to handle one of the Ambassadors for presentation during programs.
Titan is a Great-horned Owl who was hatched on May 10, 2010, from one of three eggs brought to the Wildlife Center by a Game Warden. Titan was the only egg that hatched. Gail Barnes carried her around in her hand while she worked to keep her warm. When Titan was of the age to be released to the wild, she did not have her voice and was habituated, therefore, could not be released. Without a voice, she would have been ostracized by other Great-horned Owls and would have died. Gail received permission to keep her as an Educational Ambassador to teach the public about wildlife, natural habitats, and conservation. She shares a mew with another Great-horned Owl named Bu2.
Titan has been honored by the Lubbock Independent School District by being the only live mascot in the school district. She represents Miller Elementary School and the picture to the left is the bronze statue crafted by artist Eddie Dixon. Funds were raised by individuals to provide this wonderful masterpiece for the enjoyment of all. The statue is in the foyer of the school, and her picture is etched into the glass next to each classroom door and above the stairwell.
Left: Gail Barnes, Titan, and Bronze Statue of Titan in Miller Elementary School