DOUGLAS COUNTY — The city of Lawrence reported unfortunate news Thursday. Kansa, the bald eagle, and Serena, the barn owl – part of the Birds of Prey exhibit at Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper Street in Lawrence, were killed last week by raccoons, according to a statement from the city.
The raccoons were able to breach the space between an outside wood fence and the wired-fence cage area where the birds were housed.
Unfortunately, raccoons are common predators with caged animals at zoos and nature centers. Staff have since added additional measures to fortify the cage area and keep out predators.
Kansa was acquired by the nature center in January 2003 from the Kansas State University veterinary clinic as a one-year-old bird. She had sustained a traumatic injury to her wings due to a powerline collision in southern Kansas. Following an extensive rehabilitation, she went on display in May 2003. Over many years as one of the premier animal ambassadors of Prairie Park Nature Center, Kansa participated in hundreds of events and programs at the nature center. She was deeply loved by staff and visitors. Her antics and loud voice will be forever missed.
Serena, the barn owl, came to the nature center in 2011 from Walden’s Puddle in Tennessee following a wing injury that left her unable to be released. She was an excellent education ambassador for nature center programs on owls, the prairie ecosystem, adaptations and many other programs. Parks and Recreation staff are working on a tribute to honor the birds for the service they provided the Lawrence community. Information on this will be released at a later date.