Eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and other birds of prey are awe-inspiring creatures.
The Raptor Center takes in birds that have been injured in the wild and educates people about birds of prey. Its first goal is to care for the birds and to return them to the wild. Many times they are unable be released due to the type of injury sustained. Those birds then get to live out their life at the center or another similar facility.
MSB students had the opportunity to ask questions about the animals’ habitats, nutrition and anatomy.
In the Lab Animal, Exotics and Pocket Pets class, students are exposed birds and learn how they are divided into many different groups—whether they are a song bird, hook bill, bird of prey, or have other identifying characteristics.
Student Candace Strahl said she enjoyed the opportunity,
“It was amazing to see someone so passionate about raptors as (a Raptor Center official),” Strahl said. “She did an amazing job telling us and having the raptors there. It was amazing to see how the falcon, great horned own and the American kestrel eat. I never realized how the raptors end up at this center.
Strahl said the Raptor Center employees showed great passion for their work.
“It was a very educational visit,” she said. “We got to see things that we may never have a chance to see up close again.”
An interesting fact relayed to the students was about the owl’s feathers—they are so soft that when owls are in flight they are nearly silent, allowing the raptors to sneak up on their prey.
“It was amazing to hear the difference between the great horned owl’s feathers and the bald eagle’s feathers,” MSB student Britt Agrimson said. “Our tour guide waved the feather of the eagle, and you could hear the air move. When she waved the owl’s feather, you couldn’t hear anything. That is the difference in how different they hunt for food; the owl is dead silent, and their prey doesn’t even have a chance to hear them coming.”The students said they had a great time learning about these birds and are looking for ways to help them flourish and survive among humans.
The experience at the Raptor Center provided the students with a new perspective on career choices working with birds of prey.
This specific type of bird can only be handled by specially trained personnel and not traditional veterinary clinics. The need for technicians in this field is growing.
Students we able to see these magnificent birds up close and learn about their specific husbandry needs.