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is a field of veterinary medicine
Veterinary Medicine is the branch of science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals...
dealing with care for sick or injured birds of prey, with the goal of returning them to the wild. Since raptors are highly specialized predatory bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...
s, special skills, facilities, equipment, veterinary practices and husbandry
Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock.- History :Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals....
methods are necessary.
Raptor rehabilitators often use falconry
Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...
techniques or gain assistance from falconers to exercise the birds prior to their release, as their muscles often atrophy during their convalescence.
In the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
, a license is required to possess any bird which falls under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 , codified at , is a United States federal law, at first enacted in 1916 in order to implement the convention for the protection of migratory birds between the United States and Great Britain...
(MBTA), and so the rehabilitators are under loose scrutiny from their state wildlife management
Wildlife management attempts to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of people using the best available science. Wildlife management can include game keeping, wildlife conservation and pest control...
authority as well as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is a federal government agency within the United States Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats...
Raptors that cannot be released back into the wild are sometimes used for education or transferred to licensed falconers. Some states require that birds that cannot be placed or released be euthanized
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....
. Most states do not allow rehabilitators to keep raptors under their rehabilitation permit for more than a few months.
No funds for raptor rehabilitation are provided by the U.S. government, though it claims ownership of all raptors protected by the MBTA.