Remembering Kettler

Statement of Wildlife Center of Virginia

Remembering Kettler: 1988 – 2011

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is sad to announce the death on May 25 of Kettler, a Broad-winged Hawk who had been at the Center since August 1988.  During the afternoon of May 25, Kettler was apparently involved in a confrontation with Great Horned Owl #10-2051, her next-door neighbor.  Though the gap between the slats that separated them is only 1” wide, they managed to reach each other.   While exact details of the circumstance are unknown, Kettler was seriously injured.  Due to her advanced years and pre-existing disabilities, the decision to euthanize her was reluctantly made, rather than attempt risky and painful surgery, which had little chance of success.  Kettler came to the Wildlife Center as a nestling in August 1988 after falling from her nest – or being pushed out of the nest by a larger sibling – in Salem, Virginia.  She suffered a broken right wing, which never healed properly.  The injury left Kettler unable to fly, and she became one of the Center’s resident environmental ambassadors.   The lifespan of a Broad-winged Hawk in the wild is 12 years; at the age of 23, Kettler may have set a new record for longevity of a Broad-winged Hawk in captivity.  We are fortunate to have had her in the WCV family for so many years.    During her long Wildlife Center career, Kettler appeared at thousands of environmental education programs – and helped educate hundreds of thousands of children and adults.  While she was small in size and somewhat reserved, her quiet demeanor left an impression on her audience.  For the many staff members that worked with her over the years, she was a particular favorite – always well-behaved and easy to handle.  For many, Kettler served as a portal to the work of the Wildlife Center, and she helped us “teach the world to care about and to care for wildlife and the environment.” Rest in peace, old friend.  Your friends and family will greatly miss you.