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Work first began in late July, when the ground in TreeHouse’s back field was planed in preparation for construction.

There is excitement in the air at TreeHouse.  At long last, the biggest remaining step in completing our move to Dow and fully closing down the old Brighton facility has begun.  Construction is currently underway on our new avian rehabilitation flight training complex.  This unique structure will be the crowning feature of TreeHouse’s new outdoor rehab facilities.  Funded by grants from four separate organizations, the complex is nearly one hundred feet long and rises from eight feet tall at the front to twelve feet at the back.

This innovative new enclosure will have nearly 6,000 square feet of flight space.  Its numerous sliding pocket doors will make it fully reconfigurable, so that it can be used simultaneously for the rehabilitation of numerous birds ranging in size from tiny screech owls to bald eagles.  The basic unit of the complex is a twelve by twelve foot holding compartment, but doors can be opened or closed to give birds access to multiple compartments.  It will also be possible to set up a “track” configuration, in which birds will be able to fly a complete circuit of the entire length of the complex without having to turn around.  In essence, this will allow them to fly an infinite loop rather than landing after a single flight, which will be a great advantage for building up flight muscles prior to release.

With the skeleton of the structure now in place, we really get a sense of the massive scale of the flight complex.

With the skeleton of the structure now in place, we really get a sense of the massive scale of the flight complex.

The structure has a concrete foundation, eliminating concerns about weasels and other predators tunneling into the enclosure, and it will be outfitted for containment of the mice used in prey training.  This is a vital part of release training for any raptor.  Many young raptors have an extended learning period as they first begin to hunt, and in many cases it is impossible to determine whether a bird has recovered sufficiently for release without testing its ability to hunt.

A great deal of work remains before the flight complex is complete, but progress has been steady, and we hope to be able to debut our operational new flight training facilities at our annual Open House this October.

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The new flight complex fits beautifully into the previously unused field in the back portion of TreeHouse’s property.