May 25, 2020
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Avian Haven celebrates 20 years of helping Maine birds

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Susan Stone (left), an Avian Haven volunteer, and Marc Payne, co-founder of Avian Haven, release a female bald eagle at the boat launch on Phillips Lake at the end of Poplar Road in Dedham in this 2015 file photo.

Over the past decades, Mainers who come across injured or ill birds have come to know the name “Avian Haven” as a rehabilitation facility that can offer the best care possible.

On Sunday, the Freedom-based organization will hold a 20th anniversary celebration and fundraising event from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.

Wildlife biologist Brad Allen, who serves as bird group leader for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, has relied on Avian Haven’s services countless times. And he said the group, along with its network of volunteers, has completely changed how bird rehabilitation is done in the state.

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“In the old days, we used to take an injured bird to a very well-meaning rehabilitator, and if you stopped in to see them at any given time, the bird you took might be sitting in a canary cage on the kitchen table, with kids doing homework around it,” Allen said. “[Those early rehabilitators] deserved a medal for having compassion and a big heart, but they didn’t really have the wherewithal to take care of these animals.”

Nowadays, things are different.

“So, you get a hawk with a broken wing on a Friday afternoon, and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, what do you do with this thing?’” Allen said. “Now you make one phone call, and [Avian Haven] will have a volunteer meet you, they’ll put the bird in a box, and they’ll go take good care of it. They handle thousands of birds a year, and the skill level of their care is probably as good as any in the country.”

And now, bird-lovers can help repay Avian Haven for the services they’ve provided for 20 years. The celebration, which is being called “A Feathered Affair,” will feature food and drinks for purchase, live music, a live auction and bucket raffle. The registration fee is $20.

To register or learn more, visit the Maine Audubon website or click here.

Watch: A look inside the bird rehab center Avian Haven in Freedom

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