In the spring of 2014, a young kestrel’s life was upended when he fell out of his nest and broke both wings. Luckily he was found and admitted to the Carolina Raptor Center in North Carolina. As his wings healed, the veterinarians realized that his recovery would not be perfect and he would never fly well enough to survive on his own. Rehabilitators continued to raise him and coincidentally influenced his sense of identity. This baby bird was at a critical stage of his life where he would learn who he is by carefully observing his parents. The kestrel looked up each day to see a human bringing food and a human speaking to him. He essentially learned that he is, by extension, a human. Learning to recognize humans as his own kind was a lesson he could never unlearn. If released, he would seek humans to socialize with, to breed with, and defend his territory against. He would be either too friendly or too aggressive toward people to stay safe in the wild. His perceived identity might be a liability in the wild, but it gave him a pleasant temperament for life in captivity where he would interact with people on a daily basis. This bird was placed at the Cable Natural History Museum where he was given a new identity: Aldo, Education Ambassador. With his background, he excels at bridging the gap between humans and wild kestrels, the two species he is caught between.


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