Riverwoods Preservation Council

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Small Owl Hawk Linda&Owl
(photographs courtesy of Roger Simonson)

Barnswallow Event
Linda Breuer
Director, Barnswallow - A Wild Bird Concern

March - April, 2007

Kids in balconyIt was quite an event!
Cars lined Portwine Road and filled the Village Hall parking lot. The Village Hall was packed. Linda, Breuer, a wildlife rehabilitator who operates Barnswallow, captivated both adults and children with her wildlife stories and the owls and hawks in her care. The birds she brought are unable to be released back into the wild, either because of injury or because they have bonded with humans.

Linda's message was simple: wildlife needs undisturbed native habitat in which to live and find food. She noted that owls and hawks can roam over hundreds of acres looking for food, and that one owl can require 40 acres or more of woodlands and prairie to survive. She offered her comments to the crowd at the Village Hall, and the next day to the TV audience on Chicago Tonight.

Preserving habitat is not so simple. As the population in Lake County increases, development pressures increase. Development damages habitat in three ways:

  • Reduces its size
  • Degrades its quality
  • Fragments it into smaller parcels

The habitat required to support an owl or hawk must also support their food supply. Problems arise if the area is too small, if it is pavement or turf grass instead of native woods and prairie, or if it is not connected to other habitat areas to provide migration corridors.

People and wildlife are competing for habitat.
The challenge is coexistence
- to live in nature while minimizing disruption, so it remains available for the benefit of future generations of humans and wildlife.

If you find a wild animal:

Linda Breuer advises that if you find an injured animal, avoid touching it. Birds in particular, have remarkable recuperative powers. If the bird is simply stunned, it may fly away after a few minutes if you leave it undisturbed. Keep pets away. Let the animal rest. If the animal appears to have a serious injury such as a broken bone or wing, you can contact one of the following for advice:

Barnswallow, in Wauconda (owls, hawks and falcons) Linda Breuer: 847-487-3606
Flint Creek Wildlife, in Barrington (birds, deer and other mammals) Dawn Keller: 847-602-0628
Chicago Bird Collision Monitors hotline: 773-988-1867
Ryerson Woods: 847-968-3321

Do not try to rehabilitate any wild animal yourself. They require specific diets and generally do not benefit from inexpert human contact. It is illegal to keep a wild animal, including a raptor or migratory bird, without a license.


© Riverwoods Preservation Council- - Page last updated: December 2009