2003 – 2018
It is with deep sadness, but also with the knowledge of a life well-lived, that we announce the passing of Natchez, AWC’s Mississippi Kite education ambassador. As the Alabama Wildlife Center has expanded its conservation education programming, our volunteers and staff have had the rare privilege of working with amazing glove-trained raptors of all kinds, but the pioneers in our education program have been the backbone of helping our program grow and flourish into what it is today. One such pioneer was Natchez, AWC’s Mississippi Kite, who has passed away due to complications from old age. Through his work with AWC’s education program, Natchez worked for over fourteen years as an ambassador for his species, teaching thousands of Alabamians to this acrobatic and beautiful raptor.
Natchez was admitted to the Alabama Wildlife Center in the late spring of 2003 as a nestling. He was thin and weak after days of being fed an improper diet by well-meaning, but untrained “rescuer”, leaving him with permanent metabolic issues, limited flight, and reduced grip strength in his feet. His story serves as a reminder that, whenever possible, it is always best to allow our youngest wild neighbors remain free, under the tutelage of their capable parents so that they may make their own way in the Alabama skies.
Education ambassadors like Natchez stir our passion for conservation education, and the need to be a voice for all avian species within our state. Though our wish was certainly for Natchez to live a full and healthy life in the wild, his work with AWC inspired us all to be better, and to work hard to ensure that future generations continue to have the opportunity to gaze into the clouds on a warm spring day, hear a sweet and melodic whistle, and witness a majestic grey predator command the skies above.