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Iuliia Kornilenko's picture

Have you ever seen a falcon up close? You can at the U of M!

Raptor Center at the U of M

Yesterday I had a rare chance to see a presentation about the Raptor Center at the U of M. The presenter brought a peregrine falconI didn't take pictures so have to use the googe. Photo is from http://nhnature.blogspot.com/2010/04/peregrine-falcon-and-osprey-webcams.html and a greyhound owl! I cannot express how cute they were! The falcon seemed fragile and elegant with its sleek feathers and sharp eyes, watching us carefully, while seated on the presenter’s hand. The moment he caught the sight of food, he spread his wings, which made him look five times bigger then he actually is. Now I can believe that these birds develop a speed of more then 200 miles per hour when they dive in the air to hunt for prey!

Originally the falcon was raised for falconry but for some reason, he wasn’t able to hunt. Unable to feed himself, he will probably starve if released. That’s why he is taken care of by the Raptor Center. If the bird is fit to survive, it is released; if not, it is taken care of by the Raptor Center and gets the job of an “education bird”. This picture is from online since I didn't have a camera with me. Having a majestic bird next to me was a thrilling experience!

Not only is the Raptor Center a place to visit, but it is a veterinary hospital as well. If you are like me and spend a lot of time biking, you've probably seen falcons and hawks in the wild. You can definitely see turkeys that wonder around Coffman Memorial Union before the migration season starts! So I was happy to learn that there is a place to go and learn more about these beautiful birds. Also if you ever find an injured bird, the Raptor Center will accept it and help it as much as they can.

Again had to go to google, this is a different type of owl, but very impressive. Photo is from http://blog.membracidmedia.comThe second bird I saw was the greyhound owl. My impression? “It’s so fluffy!” We were offered to guess how much it weighted and I thought that it looked about 15 pounds because my cat at home looks about the same size and weights that much. It turned out to be around 2 pounds. It looked pretty big but weighted the same as three large  apples. That guy was picked up by humans when he was little and it's left a lasting impression! Now every time he gets hungry he goes to strangers and asks for food instead of hunting! During the presentation he just kept "hoo-ting" gently. He's a very chatty creature!

The Raptor Center is pretty awesome. They even offer workshops, For example, you can take a photography class or care and management of captive raptors workshop. You can find more news about them on their blog: http://www.theraptorcenternews.blogspot.com.

I was also surprised to learn that they function mainly thanks to donations and volunteers! I am thinking about volunteering there this summer! So if you have free time, or want to learn more, go to their official page or their FB page.

I also plan to go and see the next time they will be releasing the treated birds into the wild – I am sure it will be magnificent and impressive!

I just love U of M for having this center! 

The falcon picture is from http://nhnature.blogspot.com/2010/04/peregrine-falcon-and-osprey-webcams... and the owl picture is from: http://blog.membracidmedia.com.