A Fun-Loving Guide to the Natural World for Kids and Adults

Raptor Education Group

A couple of weeks ago, we were alerted to an unusual winter resident near our home. There was a swan on a nearby river. We made a trip to the swan’s reputed haunt, and sure enough, there was a juvenile swan floating on the waves. But what kind? Tundra or Trumpeter? Tundras are much more common, so that was our default guess, but no matter how much research we did on the internet, we couldn’t come up with a positive ID.

We sent a photo to Marge Gibson of the Raptor Education Group, Inc. in Antigo, Wisconsin, and immediately we had an expert identification — we had a Trumpeter! That wasn’t the best thing that came out of our conversation with Marge, however. It was the discovery of an organization that is deeply passionate about helping animals in need.

The Raptor Education Group is usually thought of as a wildlife rehabilitation center for owls, hawks, and eagles, but we were soon to learn that it is much, much more. All avian species are welcome at the center for rehabilitation, and swans, robins, ducks, vultures, grouse, ravens, pelicans, loons, and many more have been given a second chance at life thanks to REGI. REGI doesn’t stop at healing injured and poisoned birds, either. They are actively engaged in bringing raptors to classrooms and gatherings for education, and serve as a research facility as well. They are also thoughtful enough to keep a blog, Taking Flight, which is filled with the stories of the birds who come to the center.

More impressive than any of this, however, were the emails we received from Marge. In her writing was displayed an obvious passion and compassion — she helped us educate ourselves on lead poisoning in swans, asked us to keep an eye on the swan through the winter, and again and again expressed her gratefulness for people who appreciate the wild creatures we share our world with. We discovered a person who is not only aware of her connection with the rest of the earth’s creatures, but who has devoted her life to helping them out. We were deeply inspired by her, and would urge everyone to take a look at their website and blog, and if you have a few extra dollars this month, to consider a donation to help them continue their mission. They accept monetary donations as well as donations of skills or items, as presented on their Wish List.

Keep up the awesome work, REGI!

Addendum: One of our friends sent us this photo of a bald eagle who was sent to REGI. How amazing to be so close to such a magnificent bird!


6 Responses to “Raptor Education Group”

  1. What a thrill, to see that swan! Isn’t it great, how excited we can get about seeing some creature we hadn’t seen before?

    Thanks for the support you gave to the wildlife rescuers. A very good cause.

  2. Hello Jackie,

    It truly was thrilling. And we were so excited to read about your quest to find the white squirrel! (This is a hint for other readers to follow the link to her blog and read her latest entry, which will lead you on your own quest to yet another blog where you can see photos of this amazing creature.)

  3. Thank you for promoting this group. I wish I could post a picture here, I’ll send it to you in an email but a few years back, we found a bald eagle. It was suffering from lead poisoning and was sent to the Raptor Center. The bird eventually died but it was great to learn of this groups good works and also the danger posed to eagles by lead shot in carrion.

    Marge must have been thrilled to meet you two. Who wouldn’t be?

  4. Hello Ken!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. We were amazed at the picture — we’ll place it in the above post for everyone to see!

  5. Hi Kenton, hi Rebecca!

    Thanks for sharing this heart-warming story! People like Marge and the other great folks at the REGI are so important and they really set an example to all of us on how we should relate to our wild family members.

    I hope to see some updates on how your young swan friend!

    I’m also glad to have two beautiful new blogs on my reader! :)

  6. Hi Magnus,

    We really are inspired by their work. At times we have considered trying to start a wildlife rehab center, but the red tape, facility requirements, and sheer devotion are intimidating. Not to mention the emotional impact of watching so many animals die while you’re trying to help them. It makes us very grateful for groups like REGI who are devoting themselves to this.

    We saw the swan just the other day, and he/she was playing in the water, doing back-rolls and preening feathers. We got some fun video and can’t wait to see the swan again!

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