My girlfriend and I were on a road trip to visit national parks (yay!) and her mom (sigh.) We started talking about what animals lived in the desert, and she didn't believe me that some owls live underground and imitate rattlesnake noises. Coincidentally, I saw Wild At Heart on FaceBook that night. Since it is 20 miles from her mom's house, I surprised them with a short visit. My visit changed my perspective about Arizona wild lands forever. Wild at Heart cares so much about effective REHABILITATION, they don't do tours; they don't have a gift shop; they keep the public away from the recovering birds - except for necessary volunteer work. However, Kevin and Jack were nice enough to let us peek at an aviary, and they took some time to tell us about the work being done by Wild at Heart. Here is why I decided to donate. -- I live in California, so I can't volunteer. Otherwise, i would. -- It is a volunteer-only, non-profit, approved by the State of Arizona and the federal government to rescue, rehab, and release. And they do a lot more. -- Ferruginous Cactus Pygmy Owl: Their captive breeding and release program is home to about half the nesting pairs in AZ. (30 of less than 100 tiny owls.) -- Burrowing Owls: All across Arizona they build burrows. They have built about 5000 so far. -- They are temporary home to hundreds of raptors each year. (approx 400 birds in 2014) -- They are like a trauma center for many other types of birds and critters. Non-natives and non-raptors are treated and routed to other facilities. We peeked through the veterinary center window and saw an 8 pound, 3 feet-tall bald eagle! They are so legitimate! These people work. When so many charities and non-profits are basically enabling easy lifestyles for the sympathy-mongers that run them. These guys are spending their own time and money to make a difference.
I've been volunteering for a few months and I absolutely love everything about WAH. The community is amazing and the work everyone here does is so special and is only found here
Although I am a new volunteer at Wild At Heart, I have connected with Wild At Heart unlike any other raptor rehabilitation organization. Bob and Sam Fox’s passion, belief, charity, and integrity fuel Wild At Heart’s guiding mission and it coincides with my values and passion for raptors. Bob and Sam did not just create Wild At Heart’s guiding mission. They, and all Wild At Heart volunteers, live by it: “to do what is in the best interest of these magnificent birds.”
Wild At Heart’s guiding mission drives the quality of care its raptors receive. One example of this is the food used to feed the raptors. The raptors at Wild At Heart are fed ample amounts of meticulously prepared, quality mice and rats to ensure the raptors are satiated and healthy. Wild At Heart refuses to jeopardize the health of its raptors by either feeding them lower quality mice and rats, or smaller quantities of mice and rats, or an alternative food source to lower expenses.
Another example of Wild At Heart’s quality raptor care is the specialized glove training Wild At Heart utilizes to train select, non-releasable raptors for education events. Wild At Heart does not use food as an incentive or reward to glove train an education raptor since this requires the raptor to always be hungry. Instead, Wild At Heart builds trust with the education raptor by slowly introducing it to the trainer, then to the glove, and finally to the perch. Wild At Heart does not train the education raptors to do “tricks” or compromise them in any way to satisfy human curiosity to ensure that they are respected as wild birds.
A touching example of quality raptor care at Wild At Heart is the humane parting of an incurable raptor. Unfortunately, Wild At Heart is not able to cure every raptor in its care and there are instances when Wild At Heart needs to make the difficult decision to euthanize a raptor. When the decision to euthanize is in the best interest of a raptor, Sam Fox personally and humanely euthanizes the raptor by holding and talking to it during the process. Even after many, many years of caring for raptors, Sam still cries for each raptor that passes.
Not only does Wild At Heart provide quality care for its raptors, it also appreciates and cares about its volunteers. Bob and Sam Fox recognize and acknowledge two important facts about Wild At Heart’s volunteers. First, Wild At Heart’s volunteers have the same passion and charity for raptors as they do and, second, Wild At Heart’s volunteers drive Wild At Heart’s guiding mission.
My personal volunteer experience at Wild At Heart demonstrates its appreciation and compassion for its volunteers. When I walk into Wild At Heart’s facility, I feel welcomed and that I belong there. I am encouraged to learn on my own, but I am shown how to do it first. I never feel stupid for asking a question and there is always someone willing to help if needed. My confidence has grown as a volunteer at Wild At Heart. I am inspired to learn and motivated to do more. I feel important to Wild At Heart and that I contribute to its guiding mission.
Bob and Sam Fox have lived by Wild At Heart’s guiding mission for over 26 years. I have seen them connect with the raptors and I have seen the raptors respond to their voices and their touch. I can see the love and respect in Bob and Sam’s eyes when they handle a raptor. I can hear the concern in their voices when they talk about a mistreated or an injured raptor. I do not believe that Bob and Sam have taken a vacation since Wild At Heart was founded. They answer Wild At Heart’s telephone line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They truly live by Wild At Heart’s guiding mission every single day. In fact, the best interest of Wild At Heart’s raptors always comes before their own best interest.
Grateful Wild At Heart Volunteer
I just recently visited Wild at Heart and the place is absolutely Amazing! My mom (Cindi) just started volunteering there.The volunteers there are so caring and the owners are so giving and kind. This place was so clean and all of the wildlife is taken care of so well! They all are very spoiled and given lots of attention. You can really tell everyone there is so passionate in what they do!
Three things about Wild At Heart convinced me this was an organization worth supporting and worth my time to volunteer on a regular basis. First, the founders have instilled a deep passion and loyalty for the birds of prey and, this passion becomes infectious with the other volunteers who spend time here. Second, of the many other wildlife rehab facilities I've ever visited (both in Arizona and around the US), this place is superior in cleanliness, care, and 24-hour dedication to the birds. Third, the respect and reputation WAH has garnered from the public, from the local city, from other rehab locations, and, from the regulating federal agencies make me proud to be associated with such an organization.
The decades of expertise and hands-on work done by the founders (Sam and Bob) has created a facility that has made a profound impact on nearly 7,000 raptors. Their sharing, and continual demonstration, of raptor knowledge with everyone helps make each volunteer more valuable, which makes our experience at WAH even more rewarding.
I'm excited by the next stages of WAH to further the environmental education efforts for the public. Helping to raise awareness of Arizona's avifauna benefits not only the birds but, increases the number of people who become interested enough to become involved just a little bit more with the nature that surrounds them. Hopefully, that new interest will extend even further and into a desire to volunteer just a little bit of time for Wild At Heart.
I found Wild At Heart when searching for Corporate volunteer activities a few years back. I thought it would be a great opportunity for my team at work to join in a community activity that was dedicated to our AZ wildlife, specifically birds of prey which I always found amazing. The experience was so memorable, and I knew Wild At Heart was special! I have now been volunteering on the weekends, and also join my husband (Kevin) on many rescues. The dedication of the volunteers, and of the founders, Bob and Sam Fox is unbelievable. Bob and Sam put their heart and soul into the care and rehabilitation of these magnificent birds of prey. I feel so honored to be a part of this team...
I have been a Wild at Heart volunteer for seven amazing years. Sam and Bob Fox have created the most amazing, clean, functional raptor rehab facility in the Valley.
I have learned to respect our desert fauna and flora more, acquired so much valuable information on owls, hawks, falcons and eagles, and the Fox's and birds as a whole will always remain a priority in my life. Educating people about the importance of what Wild at Heart does has helped me gather groups to give a day of service and help out whenever they can. Sam and Bob have given so much of their life for these birds and I am EXTREMELY happy to be a part of their cause! SuziD
Amazing organization. Bobby and Sam have created a sanctuary that educates the world, trains staff/volunteers, save the lives of beautiful birds and runs an efficient operation. The volunteers have caught the Wild at Heart passion of caring....and making a difference.
Have rescued many birds and work at the facility six days a week. I would not give this much time and energy to any other rescue organization. The folks at Wild at Heart truly do amazing work. No bird is ever turned away and rescues are quick. Most of the rescues are rehabilitated and released. Sam and Bob Fox have poured their life into this organization for 26 years now. The work the issues 24/7/365 without a break, truly amazing!
Kevin you are an integral part of Wild At Heart. Thank you for all you do!
I enjoyed one of the best experiences of my life this past winter and spring by volunteering at Wild at Heart! Spending one-on-one time with the magnificent birds which are rescued, cared for, and released when possible was such a joy. The dedication of those who work with Wild at Heart is fostered by Sam and Bob who show their devotion to raptors 365 days (and nights) a year. Though I am away from Arizona for several months, I think of those wonderful birds and their caregivers every day and look forward to next Fall when I can get back there again.
Thank you for your wonderful review and we can't wait to see you back in the fall again as well!
I have been honored to help Wild at Heart for a couple of years now. I pick up injured or orphaned owls and other birds on the west side of the valley and transfer them to Wild at Heart. They are by far the most caring, best organized, best kept, most dedicated people doing wildlife rehabilitation of owls and raptors in the valley, if not the state. I can't imagine taking a bird of that type anywhere else.
Thank you so much, without volunteers like you we wouldn't be able to do the work we do.
Last summer I called about a Harris Hawk that was in distress. A volunteer came promptly to pick it up. Wild At Heart is an essential asset to our rural area.
Thank you for the kind words. We are always ready to help a raptor in distress 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
I lucked into finding Wild At Heart after moving to the Phoenix area last summer and meeting one of their volunteers. I was so hoping I could find a raptor facility after volunteering with the Univeristy of Minnesota Raptor Center for 5 years and getting hooked on the magnificent birds of prey. To say I was blown away with the Wild at Heart facility, the dedication and philosophy of Sam and Bob Fox, the founders, the care the birds receive and the amazing volunteers the facility attracts would be an understatement. I am so blessed to be around a group of individuals who work tirelessly for the AZ wildlife so we can all benefit from having a connection with our natural world and all it's creatures.
You are a key part of the Wild At Heart program now - don't know what we would do without you.
I have been a Wild At Heart volunteer for over 10 years. I have never seen anyone as dedicated to wildlife as Sam and Bob Fox. They put body and soul into this organization. I can say without equivocation that the birds they take in will get the best treatment available. The honors they have won for their work proves that I'm not the only one with this opinion. Sam and Bob Fox have my utmost respect for all they do.
Thank you so very much for all your long years of help. Volunteers like you bring a smile to our face every day.
We were very concerned about some baby Cooper's hawks that were hanging out by the street at our office. Jack from Wild at Heart came out to access the situation and taught us all about Cooper's hawks too. He showed us some other birds he was taking back to the rescue for rehabilitation. It is just wonderful to know there is a group of people out there who care about these birds of prey so much!
Thank you so much for calling us and we will be happy to check out any other situations you might find.
Wild At Heart is an absolutely wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuring and rehabilitating raptors that have been injured. I am in awe of the work their dedication and work. In addition to the rescue and rehabilitation work, they also help to educate kids (and adults) about the magnificent birds.
If you are ever in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, I highly recommend a visit to see some of their work first hand.
Thank you so much.