The first Sunday in November is always the annual Hoo Haven Open House. This event gives the public an in-depth look into the wildlife rehabilitation center right outside Rockford.
They say birds of a feather flock together... but these birds of prey tend to stick with Karen Herdklotz. She is the founder and director of Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center.
The non-profit held its yearly open house this weekend-- giving the public a look at how it helps local animals.
"We provide a community service for no charge for anybody." Herdklotz states, "We are 100% donation and volunteer run and so if we were not here all of the animals you have seen today would have no place to go."
Winter is just around the corner and meaning Hoo Haven needs to get ready for a lot more animals.
Herdklotz says, "From around November to February we will get the animals.. the very old and the very young. They don't have the wherewithal to make it this year. We offer a chance for any animal to get a second try."
Tucked away in Durand, Hoo Haven says it's the only center of its kind within 75 miles of the Rockford region. Providing shelter for more than 800 animals every year its end goal is always the same.
"Its with the right vet care, the right medicine, the right diet, the right physical therapy and exercise to get it back into the wild where it belongs." Herdklotz explains.
Sadly some animals never get released due to injury-- like Marshmallow the pelican. He suffered a wing injury causing his right wing to be amputated.
But for the animals to injured to survive in the wild there is good news. Hoo Haven has Goodwill Animal Ambassadors, who have a permanent place to call home at the haven.
"When we bring Marshmallow, that 22 pound bird, into a room and people go, 'I've never seen anything (like that) five feet away,' and it's worth everything." Herdklotz said, "My husband once said if a picture is worth a thousand words then an animal is worth a thousand pictures."
If you're interested in donating to Hoo Haven you can click here.