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Meadowside Nature Center
5100 Meadowside Lane
(located in Rock Creek Regional Park)
Rockville, Maryland 20855
Directions and Map
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays
Park and Trails open: sunrise to sunset
For almost 40 years, Meadowside Nature Center has been home to dozens of injured, un-releasable birds of prey. The birds are located in aviaries behind the nature center and currently house a Red Shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, Turkey Vulture and an American Bald Eagle. Stop by for a casual visit, or register for one of our many raptor programs (Programs & Events tab) involving these amazing birds of prey.
NOTE: Open Tuesday - Saturday from 9:00am - 5:00pm. The aviaries can be visited year-round.
Here's some background on our resident birds:
"Orion", a male American Bald Eagle, came to Meadowside Nature Center in 1998 from the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage, Alaska. While hunting for fish in Alaska, he got caught in the lines of a fishing trawler, injuring his right wing. He was determined to be non-releasable because of his wing injury and he can no longer fly.
When Orion first arrived to MNC in 1998, the feathers on his head and tail were brown, not the characteristic white head you see today. A Bald Eagle's white feathers don't come in until they are about 4 to 5 years old. Orion makes his presence known at Meadowside with his large size and loud vocalizations. His absolute favorite food at Meadowside is fish!
"Duke" is a male Red-tailed Hawk that came to Meadowside in December of 2011. His official name is Sir Gallahad, but now he is more simply known as "Duke." Rehabilitator Suzanne Shoemaker, of Owl Moon Raptor Center, found Duke in 2009 off of a footpath along the Monocacy River in Frederick. The source of Duke's injury was unknown, but it was clear that his left wing was inflamed and drooping. After much time and care, it was determined that, even though he is partially flighted, he would never fly well enough to hunt or survive on his own.
Duke is a most handsome Red-tailed hawk! He carries the signature deep brick red tail that is characteristic of all Red-tailed hawks. Red-tailed hawks are the largest hawk native to our area. Over 90% of their diet is made up of rodents. Like other species of hawks, they can often be spotted on utility poles and other high top perches while looking for prey to swoop down upon. Pictured, Duke and his trainer, Meadowside naturalist Lisa Droubi.
"Sinbad" is a male Barred Owl that came to Meadowside in 1993. He was hit by a car and taken to Second Chance Wildlife Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. One of his eyes was damaged so badly the vet had to remove it completely. Though he is fully flighted, he is non-releasable because of the loss of vision in one eye. His vision impairment makes it so that he could not hunt or survive on his own in the wild.
Since he is able to fly, Sinbad often stays perched up higher than his roommate, Precious, the Turkey Vulture. In late fall and winter, we often can hear Sinbad making his signature "Who cooks for you, Who cooks for you all" call into the forest. We are lucky to have Sinbad, since so few people ever get a good look at owls because of their nocturnal habits.
"Precious" is a female Turkey Vulture that came to MNC in 1991. She was hit by a car and her wing was injured. Car collisions are very common for vultures like Precious because they commonly feast on recent road kill where fast moving cars are a risk. She is non-releasable because she can no longer fly.
Precious is older now and likes to take it easy. In warmer weather, Precious likes to sun herself. On those days, you can find Precious spreading her wings out wide to soak in the sun.
Turkey vultures do not hunt live prey like other raptors. Instead, they use their keen sense of smell to find ripe carcasses of animals that are already dead from disease, natural causes, or vehicle collisions. In this way, they are considered "nature's recyclers" by helping clean up disease in the environment. They are majestic but unsteady in flight; you will often see them riding thermals in the sky and making wobbly circles up high.