Tricia Booker Photography

Loon Release


I’m fortunate to live near The Blueridge Wildlife Center, a facility that rescues and rehabilitates injured wildlife. Over the past several years, I’ve taken injured birds and animals to them, watched releases and observed their educational programs with my son.

Last weekend I was thrilled to join them on a release, when they returned a loon, duck and goose back to the wild after they’d recovered from injuries.

It was a touching scene as the three birds tasted freedom once again, swimming and flying away healthy on their return to the Shenandoah River, where they could then transition to their home territory or join the migrating flocks heading north.

After the release, we returned to the center where I shadowed one of the volunteers as she cared for and fed some of the recovering birds, including hawks, kestrels, owls and even a Great Blue Heron. They do such fantastic work with birds, mammals and amphibians, and although not all can be saved due to catastrophic injuries or illness, their dedication to preserving our many native wildlife species is remarkable.

To learn more about their mission, visit their website above or their Facebook page, where they post frequent photos and updates.





  1. I’m so glad there are places like these that help birds and animals. Most of them have injuries or illness due to our interactions with them, so to know that some will survive a car hit or eating lead-based shot, for example, is at least somewhat comforting.

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