Skyhunters Raptor Rehabilitation and Education
Nancy Conney has devoted the past 25 years to the care and preservation of raptors who have become ill, injured or orphaned. She spent 10 years with Project Wildlife before forming Skyhunters Raptor Rehabilitation and Education in 1996. Skyhunters, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, operates with a volunteer staff and is funded primarily through donations and its Community Outreach programs.
In addition to running Skyhunters, Nancy is Vice President of the California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators, an Instructor at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and a Presenter at the San Diego County Park System.
The focus of the work performed by Skyhunters Raptor Rehabilitation and Education is reflected in its mission statement:
• Care for sick, injured and orphaned raptors
• Educate the community about preservation of our local wildlife
In order to carry out the work of Skyhunters, Nancy maintains U.S. Federal Fish & Wildlife permits for Rehabilitation, Education, and Eagle possession. Skyhunters also maintains California State Fish & Game permits for Rehabilitation and Education.
At any given time, Skyhunters can be responsible for more than 20 non-releasable raptors, including various hawk and owl species. On average, Skyhunters works with as many as 300 ‘rehab raptors' every year. Nancy also has a personal collection of colorful and noisy parrots, cockatoos, and macaws.
Skyhunters ensures that all birds receive the same diet they have in the wild, maintains clean and safe enclosures, and arranges for twice yearly checkups with a veterinarian. The facilities at Skyhunters include a 70-foot flight cage that all the flighted birds use for conditioning.
When Skyhunters has raptor chicks requiring rehabilitation, the chicks are fed from a puppet so that no ‘human imprinting' occurs, potentially interfering with their re-introduction into the wild. The chicks then move into a small enclosure to start exercising and eventually into the large flight cage to prepare for release.
Adult birds recovering from an injury receive care, treatment, and appropriate medications from the staff Veterinarian. The recovering raptors enjoy flight time in the flight cage and, when ready, are released back into the area where they were found.
Over the past 15 years, Nancy and Skyhunters have cared for more than 4,000 raptors large and small, have released approximately 80% of the rescued birds back into their natural habitat, and contribute greatly to the education of residents regarding these elegant birds of San Diego County.