by January Bill, Bird Ally X co-founder
I was watching a Red-shouldered Hawk perched on a snag outside my window the other day. My 4 year old son pointed him out to me, commenting on how he blended in with the plants. I immediately started thinking of a friend and well-known community member, Merry Maloney. In truth, I think of Merry every time I see a raptor in the sky or when we are rehabilitating one at the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center because when I first met Merry her passion for wildlife drew me to her. I was lucky to have worked with her almost daily for years doing wildlife rehabilitation in Humboldt. Her knowledge, inspiration, and humor helped keep me on my path to a life devoted to a career in wildlife rehabilitation.
You may know her, she is an exceptional person all around and is active throughout our community, but I would like to share with you the world that I know her from, and that is wildlife rehabilitation. Once she retired as a school nurse in her first profession, she began her second career as a volunteer with the HWCC in 1999 as the Education Team Leader and Raptor Rehabilitator. She opened up her and her partner Barb’s (who has supported her every step of the way) home for housing HWCC’s educational wildlife ambassadors. This was an extremely selfless act and was also a huge personal and financial commitment. Most of the wildlife ambassadors continue to live and be cared for on their property.
Merry attended international conferences and networked with national raptor rehabilitation organizations to ensure stellar care was given to the local injured and orphaned raptors in her charge, giving hundreds of individuals, from Bald Eagles to baby Quail, a second chance at a wild and free life.
She developed and presented over 1,000 educational presentations to schools (preschoolers to grad students) and many community organizations, never turning down an educational outreach opportunity. Recently Merry had to retire from the work to which she had devoted her life because of her health. Yet her devotion to wildlife, to the environment, to children and wildlife education continues on through the work of BAX/HWCC’s staff, volunteers and interns, and all who have been inspired by her to be wildlife stewards of our shared world.
Merry Maloney is a true wildlife advocate and hero in our community. For all of her contributions to the HWCC and our community, we honor her by naming our recently-built raptor conditioning aviary the Merry Maloney Raptor Flight House.
Merry, thank you for doing this life saving work. Thank you with all of our hearts for everything you have done to make this world brighter for both the people and wildlife. We love you.