ST. PETERSBURG— Vandals cut holes in aviaries at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and let out most of the birds. Gabe Vargo, a retired University of South Florida professor who heads the group volunteers who handle the birds, said he learned of the vandalism Thursday morning.
A great horned owl and two adult screech owls were the only birds still remaining when he arrived at the park. A bald eagle, two turkey vultures, a red tailed hawk, two red shouldered hawks and one barred owl were missing. Park workers and volunteers managed to recapture all but one of the birds. A red shouldered hawk was still missing early Thursday afternoon.
"The bad part about this is all of our birds are permanently injured. Freeing them is a death sentence," Vargo said. "It's just a terribly misguided individual who thinks this is a good thing to do."
Officials are asking anyone who sees the bird to call Linda Seufert at Boyd Hill, (727) 893-7317.