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04/03/2024 08:30 AM

Rose Crisci: Educating and Advocating with Blue Moon Raptors

Rose Crisci is the founder of non-profit Blue Moon Raptors, which rehabilitates ill, injured, and orphaned birds of prey to return them back to their natural habitat. She also provides important educational programming with some of Blue Moon Raptors’ feathered ambassadors, such as Sage, a great horned owl, shown here. Photo courtesy of Brian Bennett

Rose Crisci has many fond memories of growing up in Branford, but one rises above the rest.

“I remember when I was a kid in Branford, I used to lay on my back outside and look up at the sky and see these birds circling really high. I thought they were so cool! I wondered what they were. I found out they were hawks,” says Rose.

Fast forward a few decades, when some extra time appeared in her schedule following a business career and raising her kids. Rose decided to spread her wings as a local wildlife raptor rehabilitation volunteer. Within a short span of volunteering, Rose realized that she had found her passion. In 2011, she founded her non-profit rehabilitation organization, Blue Moon Raptors.

As a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Blue Moon Raptors relies on public financial support to fulfill its mission to rehabilitate ill, injured, and orphaned birds of prey. The goal is to return them back to their natural habitat, where they will continue to enrich the environment. Through its educational programs, Blue Moon Raptors shares the important role that these birds play in local ecosystems and promotes the protection of wildlife and the environment for future generations.

It has become a full-time commitment for Rose to pursue her passion to protect this exceptional segment of area wildlife. As part of her role, Rose travels across the state to provide educational programs at schools, nursery schools, outdoor nature and passive recreational sites, libraries, and even birthday parties.

Rose always brings three to four “program ambassadors,” which are birds in the care of Blue Moon Raptors, to her extremely popular educational talks, often geared to audiences of kids.

As a busy working mom, Rose recalls taking her young sons to a library children’s program featuring a talk by Wind Over Wings, a non-profit raptor rehabilitation group founded by Hope Douglas on the Connecticut shoreline.

“I thought what they were doing was so awesome. I wanted to learn more, but at that point in my life, I didn’t think I had the time,” Rose says.

At the time, Rose had already built a career as a wallpaper installation expert. Several years later, while working with a client in a shoreline home, their talked often turned to osprey and other birds of prey frequenting the area.

“She said, ‘Wind Over Wings is having a fundraising program. You’ve got to go,’” recalls Rose.

Rose not only supported the fundraiser, but attended with an idea.

“The boys were older, and I was looking for something fun to do as a volunteer one day week. So, when I was there, I met Hope Douglas and asked her if I could volunteer. That’s how it all started for me,” Rose says.

While volunteering at Wind Over Wings once a week, Rose was also rapidly learning about the work of the program.

“Whenever Hope took a bird in, she had us all stop and watch what she was doing,” says Rose. “She also had birds there that needed help and training, and one day she said, ‘Is anyone interested in training River?’”

Rose raised her hand before “...anyone else could even breathe!” and got the assignment to work with River, a bald eagle.

“That experience was what made me soar,” says Rose. “I would go every day and spend time with her. It took three years to get her to step up, but she did eventually come to me.”

From there, Rose dedicated herself to learning more. She took wildlife rehabilitation courses and continued with additional training. In 2011, she was ready to establish Blue Moon Raptors, based out at her Guilford home.

“It started out as one day a week, but it’s grown, especially in our educational programming,” says Rose. “It’s a passion for me. If I can get the word out to one child, that’s important to me.”

The word that Rose wants to share is that these important members of our world need to be respected and supported so that they will survive and thrive.

“They play such an important role,“ says Rose. ”People really need to know how important birds of prey are for our ecosystem.“

Hawks have historically received a bad rap as poachers of livestock, such as chickens. For people who may be concerned about this type of interaction, a little education goes a long way.

“What hawks and owls are usually looking for are the rodents that are attracted to the livestock feed. But they’re a smart bird and, if you let your chickens roam free, they will realize they are able to get an easy meal, and they will go after the chickens.”

Rodenticides that are used to eliminate rodents are also a concern, as birds can become sickened and die from ingesting the poisoned animals. Additionally, pesticides, such as chemical insect spray and treatments, as well as chemical herbicides used on plants and lawns, can seep into the food chain and harm both the birds and other wildlife.

“During the last five years or so, we’ve gotten a lot of birds in with neurological problems, and that’s from the pesticides, the herbicides, the rodenticides,” says Rose.

Using old-fashioned mouse traps or all-natural insect and plant treatments may require a bit more effort and expense, but the results can help keep the needle moving in a positive direction for the remarkable birds of prey that are now in the state. For example, Rose says that golden eagle sightings, a very rare occurrence around here, have recently been confirmed.

“I don’t think people are using these chemicals intentionally. They’re just not thinking about how far it goes toward affecting all of our wildlife,” says Rose. “We have many birds here now that we didn’t have many years ago. That’s we want to concentrate on educating everyone about the birds that we have right here, so they can continue to thrive here.”

To learn more about Blue Moon Raptors or to make a donation, visit or find Blue Moon Raptors on Facebook.