The AWC wants you to help name Treetop’s newest raptors

The Alabama Wildlife Center is asking for your help to name Treetop's four newest residents, including this new barred owl. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

The Alabama Wildlife Center is asking for your help to name Treetop’s four newest residents, including this new barred owl. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The C. Earl Stephens Treetop Nature Trail at Oak Mountain State Park is open once again and the birds have returned, this time with four new additions. The Alabama Wild Life Center is asking for your help to name Treetop’s four newest residents.

“We have some birds that are new to Treetop,” AWC Executive Director Doug Adair said. “When we have patients at the Wildlife Center, we don’t name them, but all the birds at Treetop do have names.”

The Treetop Nature Trail consists of an elevated boardwalk and six enclosures where visitors can meet 12 different raptors, from red tail hawks to turkey vultures. Treetop is a special home to birds who are not able to be fully released into the wild.

“They are healed from their injuries, but their injuries make so they are not releasable into the wild,” Adair explained, noting the majority of birds at Treetop were victims of gunshot wounds or were hit by cars.

Visitors to the newly opened Treetop Nature Trail will notice a newly constructed boardwalk and enclosures for the birds, and Adair said the AWC is still working on updating signage.

“The reconstruction of Treetop has been a partnership between Shelby County, who’ve been very supportive… Oak Mountain State Park folks, who have been equally great in their support, and the Alabama Wildlife Center,” Adair explained.

Visitors to Treetop will also notice four new resident raptors, a black vulture, a barred owl and two barn owls, all of who need names.

Adair encourages anyone to get to know the new raptors by going to see them at Treetop or by visiting the AWC website, Awrc.org, for more information about each bird.

“We want to get ideas and suggestions (for names),” Adair said. “We’re asking people to go to the AWC Facebook page or to our website to learn more about the new birds and to give us their ideas about names.”

The AWC’s naming campaign seeks to introduce and involve people in the birds at Treetop and spread awareness and appreciation for the native birds of Alabama.

“Hopefully it’ll be a thing that folks can get excited about,” Adair said. “Our hope is this kind of exposure will give visitors a new appreciation for these animals that are all around us. These are all native Alabama animals and anything we can do to promote their appreciation and protect them, we want to do.”