Lauren Norvell releases a red-shouldered hawk into the air and just as it flies a beeline overhead, she reels it in with the leash. The hawk came to Talon Trust, on the West Side of Evansville, five weeks prior with a broken humerus bone in its wing. Now, after the care of Norvell and Talon Trust, it is flying well and preparing to be released in the wild.
Norvell got her start helping raptors working for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a hack site attendant in 1993. She explains hacking out as creating a “makeshift” nest for youngsters and a mechanism to feed them without associating yourself with the food until they are capable of flying and hunting on their own. After the success of the Peregrine Falcon Release conducted in Downtown Evansville in 1993, she continued working with birds in her environmental education and began training raptors while looking for more birds to rescue.
Norvell started Talon Trust in 2013 to continue her work rehabilitating raptor birds in the Tri-State. The nonprofit organization — with just 15 volunteers — takes in injured and orphaned migratory raptors to rehabilitate them while educating the public about conservation.
Before Talon Trust became a nonprofit, it was operating off money from donors and the volunteers’ own pockets. As it began to take in more and more birds, the necessity to grow became evident. However, Talon Trust needed more funding to expand their mews (cages).
To help, Talon Trust will participate in the Ohio River Valley Birding Festival at Audubon State Park on Earth Day, April 22, where it will have a silent auction to raise funds for the planned new mews and daily care for the raptors.
“Because we operate on about $5,000 a year, we have to raise money through grants, donations, and program fees,” says Norvell. “But all of that goes back to the birds because we aren’t a public facility. It all goes to caring for the raptors.”
At the auction, participants can bid on handmade items and artwork. Talon Trust currently is accepting donations of items for the silent auction.