Protecting the Birds of Southern West Virginia: Three Rivers Avian Center

The New River Gorge is home to lots of animals, but the birds that fly high above this canyon have friends in low places.

Those friends are located at the Three Rivers Avian Center in Brooks, WV.

Bald Eagles at their Nest

Three Rivers is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 and dedicated to wild bird conservation. Its 103-acre facility is located in the southern portion of the New River Gorge National Park.  Three Rivers makes an invaluable contribution to the Park and local communities through ecosystem stewardship.

What Three Rivers Avian Center (TRAC) Does

Three Rivers Avian Center has multiple roles to fill in the mission of protecting wild birds. Each component is vital in the effort of protecting, preserving, and enhancing wild bird species and their habitat.  Here’s an overview of how TRAC accomplishes their goals.

Veterinary and Rehabilitative Care

Through a network of hospice veterinarians, on-site staff and volunteers, TRAC provides a full range of medical care and rehabilitation treatments for non-game and endangered wild birds. Since 1990, over 2,700 birds from 105 species have been treated by Three Rivers. Close to half of those have been released back into their native environments.

Public Environmental Education

With public outreach programs designed to help people understand native birds and their ecosystems, TRAC has provided programs for nearly 200,000 people since 1993. Groups like schools, civic organizations, state and federal parks, and universities regularly request programs from Three Rivers.
One local event that draws great interest is the Annual Migration Celebration at Little Beaver State Park. This festival, which takes place the second Saturday in May, is designed to help generate public interest in this cause in WV. TRAC also publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Raptor Chapter, filled with information on events, happenings and other useful tidbits.

Research and Conservation

Three Rivers works in conjunction with other rehabilitation groups and educators in sharing data for research projects. This data helps drive research projects focused on native avian populations and habitats.

What Else

In addition to these missions, TRAC has been working in conjunction with theWVDNR, the National Park Service of the New River Gorge, and the Center for Conservation Biology from William and Mary College to reestablish peregrine falcon populations in their native southern Appalachian habitat.
This program, which includes participation from US Fish and Wildlife Service and State Wildlife Biologists from Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has worked to relocate young peregrines from dangerous nesting sites in the aforementioned states and place them in the New River Gorge. Since 2006, more than 90 young peregrines have been relocated to the Gorge. TRAC was placed fully in charge of the project in 2008.
This multiple-award winning facility works hard to help educate the public and involve individuals in the cause of environmental stewardship and protecting wild birds.

Now that you know a little bit more about Three Rivers, you should consider visiting during your visit to southern West Virginia. They offer free public tours at the TRAC facility the first Saturday of the month from May through October, from 1-5 pm.  For additional tours or to schedule an educational program you must contact the Center.

How many different bird species have you seen in the New River Gorge? What’s your favorite?

Tags: , , ,