Ruby was hit by a car in Dayton, Virginia in February 2010. When she arrived at the Center, the veterinary team found a fracture in her left wing as well as severe trauma to her right eye. After weeks of cage rest and bandaging, her wing healed – but her right eye had to be surgically removed. Unfortunately, with limited vision, Ruby cannot see well enough to be released back into the wild.
In January 2011, the Wildlife Center asked for the help of elementary school children in suggesting names for this hawk. More than 170 names were submitted. The “final five” were put to an online public vote. The winning name was Ruby.
That name was suggested by Ms. Phelps’ first-grade class at South River Elementary in Grottoes. In submitting the nomination, Ms. Phelps wrote, “We are currently studying Ruby Bridges. The kids thought since Ruby was a brave girl who fought to have a better life and since rubies are red, this would be a good name for a female red-tailed-hawk who also fought for her life.”
As a six-year old girl, Ruby Bridges integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. Her experience inspired the iconic painting by Norman Rockwell, The Problem We All Live With.