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A Day in Wildlife Surgery With Dr. Kathleen Ramsay

on October 1, 2013 - 8:48am

A Peregrine Falcon with a broken wing is prepared for surgery. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras, left, assists Dr. Kathleen Ramsay during surgery. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay invited the Los Alamos Daily Post to spend a typical busy Saturday with her at her Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Espanola as she performed surgeries on birds with injured wings.

Ramsay explained that it's a common injury because many birds target their meal from high in the sky, dive bombing at rapid speeds to break their prey's back. The problem is they often collide with power lines in the process.  

Ramsay volunteers her time, along with other veterinarians, to help the injured birds. She also mentors many people including Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras who assisted Ramsay during the Saturday surgery on a Peregrine Falcon that broke its wing on a power line. 

Dr. Ramsay is a legend in New Mexico wildlife care ... she is the most incredible person I know," Paras said.

Santa Fe Raptor Center is a registered nonprofit 501 ( c ) (3) organization that relies on private contributions to finance wildlife care. Its main goal is to care for injured birds in order to release them back into the natural habitat. Anyone who finds a wild bird that needs help may call the raptor center at 699-0455 or 662-7418. 

"We can advise you on what to do and will arrange to get the bird to our facility," Paras said.

Paras calls on Ramsay for help when people bring in injured birds that require surgery. Ramsay is always ready to help, she said. Ramsay has operated a rescue, rehabilitation and release program for ill and injured animals for nearly 30 years. She founded The Wildlife Center in Espanola in 1986 (formerly called Las Aves.)

Ramsay's encountered a few mishaps with her wild patients through the years including the time a turkey vulture bit her on the lip. She also was footed once by a bald eagle whose talons went straight through her arm. She doesn't blame them because it's there nature.

Ramsay and her son Tyrone Horak also operate a rehabilitation center on 4-acres north of Espanola where they care for ill, injured and orphaned bear, elk and other wild animals. Ramsay and her son also have formed the Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation to assist wildlife rehabilitation operations throughout the state with funding, food, medicine, volunteers and other needs.

"It's very expensive to care for wild animals so we want to do everything we can do to help support the many rehabilitors throughout New Mexico," Ramsay said.

For more information or to make a donation, click here.

 

Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras, left, and Dr. Kathleen Ramsay examine the Peregrine Falcon's injured wing prior to surgery. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, left, with Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras analyzes the x-ray of the Peregrine Falcon's injured wing prior to surgery. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay performs surgery on the Peregrine Falcon's injured wing with assistance from Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, left, and Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras check the Peregrine Falcon's vital signs on a monitor during surgery at Cottonwood Veterinary Center. The surgery was successful in repairing the falcon's broken wing. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay holds a small bird just waking up from surgery. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay holds up the x-ray that shows the pin she surgically inserted in the small bird's broken wing so it can fly again. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay holds the pin she inserted in the bird's broken wing. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, right, examines the injured wing of a pidgeon. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 


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