Houdini the great horned owl and SORCO resident was once again the star of the show at the annual open house Sunday. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Birds of a feather flock together at Okanagan raptor recovery centre open house

Over 2,000 people attend the once-a-year open house at SORCO Raptor Recovery Centre.

“Standing room only.”

That’s manager Dale Belvedere’s description of the scene at the annual SORCO Raptor Recovery Centre open house last Sunday.

Attendance during the course of the five hours was estimated in excess of 2,000 and in total, the centre is expected to realize about $27,000 in donations.

“Once the gates opened at 10 (a.m.) you couldn’t even walk anywhere on the property,” said Belvedere. “It was just crazy, but we’re good.”

One particular item in the donation box particularly caught her attention. An envelope, simply addressed to the centre, with some “very unusual contents” that translated into nearly $3,000 in cash.

“We would just like to thank this anonymous donor for this incredible gift and want the person to know how much this means for the work that we do,” said Belvedere, who would not say what the items in the envelope were. “In my mind whoever did it, did it that way so they wouldn’t be identified, like a name on a cheque would identify someone.”

That was not the only large offering found in the box at the end of the day, there were also two $1,000 cheques and several others for $500 in total adding up to about $16,000 in total.

This year, there was a record number of gift baskets, 211, up for auction, bringing in another $10,000.

This money comes on the heels of a $5,000 donation SORCO received as part of the Steve Rodgers fundraising concert held in Summerland a few weeks ago.

READ MORE: Friendly falcon now in residence at Okanagan raptor rehab centre

Music icon Paul Rodgers and his wife Cynthia Kereluk Rodgers also dropped off a $3,000 cheque Sunday to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of B.C. which has a captive-breeding facility on the SORCO grounds, although the organizations are not otherwise affiliated.

READ MORE: Taste of freedom for owls released in Oliver

Under government regulations, SORCO is allowed only allowed to open to the public once a year. This event is a substantial portion of the funds needed to operate the facility, which cares for hundreds of sick and injured raptors annually.


 

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SORCO manager Dale Belvedere (right) and former manager Ken Fujino dish up Houdini the great horned owl’s birthday cake at Sunday’s open house. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Zoe Kirk of the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen talks about some of the wild animals of the region at one of the displays at the SORCO open house. (Mark Brett - Western News)

One of the displays in the SORCO education centre. (Mark Brett - Western News)

SORCO manager Dale Belvedere (right) with (left to right) Janice Pim, Cynthia Kereluk Rodgers and Chickenator Claudette Murti. The three were at the SORCO open house to donate a cheque to the Burrowing Owl Society of B.C. (Mark Brett - Western News)

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