Animal Ambassadors

KNC’s Animal Ambassadors serve as important reminders of the impact we have on the natural world. Migratory species – like some of the KNC birds of prey ambassadors – face a number of challenges along their migration routes as a direct result of human activity. Urbanization causes significant habitat loss and introduces direct threats to birds as they encounter unfamiliar habitats. Window collisions, fragmentation, light pollution, and habitat destruction are just a handful of the threats faced by birds. Through our Animal Ambassadors, we hope to shed more light on our role in their conservation.

Ways to Support KNC’s Animal Ambassadors

Pop Up Program

Animal Ambassador Programs

From Creature Features and Birds of Prey programs to Behind the Scenes of Animal Care, there are a number of exciting public programs at KNC that showcase our Animal Ambassadors.

Calendar >

Oppossum at KNC

Adopt an Animal

Symbolically adopting an Animal Ambassador is an exciting way to support KNC’s Animal Ambassador Program and learn more about these amazing animals. Animal adoptions make a great gift!

Adopt an Ambassador Animal >

Animal Ambassador Volunteer

Become an Animal Ambassador Volunteer

Volunteers in the Animal Ambassadors program will be trained to handle a variety of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals and will assist with regular care. Regular, weekly shifts are required.

Learn more >

Meet the KNC Animal Ambassadors!

Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus

Fudge, a rough-legged hawk, came to KNC in 2021 after suffering a tendon injury that left him partially flighted. Wing injuries, even slight ones, can prevent a bird from successfully surviving in the wild as any impediment to flight reduces a bird’s ability to hunt and migrate.

Fudge the Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged hawks:

  • Have feathers that extend to their toes (hence “rough-legged”), which helps them in their cold Arctic home.
  • Weigh the same as Red-tail hawks but have slightly longer wingspans of up to 5 feet.
  • Have variable plumage that often includes a dark band across the lower belly or the tip of the tail.
  • Incubate their 2-7 eggs for a month, bring food to the young in the nest for a month, and watch over them for another month after they fledge, or leave the nest

What do they eat?
Rough-legged hawks eat mostly small mammals, especially lemmings and voles, but also birds, frogs and insects. They eat about 10% of their body weight each day.

Where do they live?
Rough-legged hawks breed in the northern tundra in Canada and Eurasia, with their population fluctuating based on availability of tundra prey. Their nests are normally found on cliffs or sometimes on the ground and may include caribou bones. They raise their young under a sun that never sets, and are inactive for a six-hour stretch each day. In the winter they migrate south, where they frequent open fields.

Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus

Fudge, a rough-legged hawk, came to KNC in 2021 after suffering a tendon injury that left him partially flighted. Wing injuries, even slight ones, can prevent a bird from successfully surviving in the wild as any impediment to flight reduces a bird’s ability to hunt and migrate.

Fudge the Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged hawks:

  • Have feathers that extend to their toes (hence “rough-legged”), which helps them in their cold Arctic home.
  • Weigh the same as Red-tail hawks but have slightly longer wingspans of up to 5 feet.
  • Have variable plumage that often includes a dark band across the lower belly or the tip of the tail.
  • Incubate their 2-7 eggs for a month, bring food to the young in the nest for a month, and watch over them for another month after they fledge, or leave the nest

What do they eat?
Rough-legged hawks eat mostly small mammals, especially lemmings and voles, but also birds, frogs and insects. They eat about 10% of their body weight each day.

Where do they live?
Rough-legged hawks breed in the northern tundra in Canada and Eurasia, with their population fluctuating based on availability of tundra prey. Their nests are normally found on cliffs or sometimes on the ground and may include caribou bones. They raise their young under a sun that never sets, and are inactive for a six-hour stretch each day. In the winter they migrate south, where they frequent open fields.