Education Manual.pdf - West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center

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					                     Education Manual


                           Patty Harman
                         Natasha Diamond
                        Katie & Jesse Fallon
                             Nick Hales
                           Shannon Dey
                             Mike Book

                          PO Box 333
                     Morgantown, WV 26507
                        (304) 366-2867

Revised March 2008

                                 Table of Contents


Organizational Structure------------------------4

Handling the Education Birds----------------5

“Annie” the Red-tailed Hawk-----------------6

“Bubo” the Great-horned Owl----------------7

“Orion” the Broad-winged Hawk-----------8

“Otus” the Eastern Screech-owl-----------9

Transporting the Birds--------------------------10
Setting Up----------------------------------------------10

Education Format---------------------------------11
Returning the Birds to the Center--------11

Fast Raptor Facts----------------------------------12

Sample Education Program Outline-----15

              West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center
                          Education Manual


Thank you for your interest in the WVRRC. As you know, the WVRRC’s mission is “to
rehabilitate and release raptors while inspiring environmental understanding through
education for the benefit of all living things.” Educational programming is essential for
several reasons. Most importantly, of course, programs teach children, college students, and
adults alike about the value of protecting the environment we share with the birds and the
importance of maintaining the balance of nature. Programs also teach audiences about the
hard work volunteers do at the Center and how they can help us achieve our
goals. Additionally, we ask for donations in exchange for programs - the money generated
from education makes up a substantial portion of our annual income, which is used to buy
rats, mice, and other items necessary for our organization to function. Annually, the Raptor
Center volunteers present about 100 programs reaching thousands of people of all ages.

The purpose of this Education Manual is to provide volunteers with background information
about the WVRRC including our mission, goals, history and future plans; to provide
guidelines to follow when handling and transporting the birds; to provide background
information about raptors in general and our education birds in particular; and to provide a
general format to follow when giving presentations. Please become familiar with all the
information in the Education Manual; also, please do additional research on your own to
expand your knowledge of these magnificent birds.


To rehabilitate and release raptors while inspiring environmental understanding through
education for the benefit of all living things


•      Treat and release injured and orphaned birds of prey

•      Provide educational programming

•      Engage in ongoing scientific research

•      Act as a clearinghouse for information regarding raptor care


The WVRRC was chartered in January of 1983, but its origins date back to the mid-
1970s. Mike Book, founder of the WVRRC, first became involved with raptor rehabilitation
while employed as a game biologist with the West Virginia Department of Natural
Resources. Conservation officers with the DNR brought in injured birds, but there was not
much interest in or resources available for rehabilitation. Mike’s education background in
wildlife biology and lifelong admiration for birds spurred his interest in attempting to
rehabilitate raptors. He got started rehabilitating birds out of his own home. Without the
constant supply of frozen rats that we are now accustomed to, Mike spent a great deal of
time collecting road kill.

Although he transferred to Fairmont, the birds kept coming in from all over the state. Mike
was frequently housing seven or eight birds at a time. It was at this time that Dr. Ron
Thompson, DVM, started working with Mike. Dr. Thompson had an interest in orthopedics,
so the rehabilitation expanded into pinning bones. The increasing numbers of birds and
growing interest in and local support for raptor rehabilitation led to the creation of the

The Center is currently located on Rt. 73 south of Morgantown on property deeded by
Elizabeth Zimmerman to the West Virginia Land Trust. The WVRRC has lifetime use of a barn
and surrounding land on the Zimmerman property. Facilities include an ICU unit equipped
with small cages to restrict movement, two larger indoor flight cages, several outside flight
cages, and hack boxes which are situated on the edge of the woods facing an open field.

In 1993, Col. Jack “Hardrock” Bunner donated 252 acres to the WVRRC to be used for a
new rehabilitation and environmental education center. The property is located 5 miles off I-
79 (East Fairmont/ Prickett’s Fort exit). The terrain is rolling to steep with huge rock
cliffs. The elevation ranges from about 1240 feet to just over 1600 feet. Nearly all the
property is forested. Aquatic habitats include a stream and a one acre pond with rock cliffs
overhanging nearby. These natural features will be useful education sites; hopefully,
someday we can offer programs such as day camps for youth groups and schools and
training workshops for educators. The new Center, which will house the raptors under our
care and the environmental education classrooms, will be located at the near end of the
property. Architectural plans have been developed and fundraising is now underway to
generate the necessary money to develop the facility.


The WVRRC operates under the direction of a Board of Directors. Currently, Mike Book is the
Chairman of the Board of Directors. Marilyn Bowman is the Director of Operations. Shannon
Dey is the Education Director. The rest of the Board of Directors consists of Bob Boyle, Jesse
and Katie Fallon (former Education Directors), Lloyd Spring, and Michael Boyce. Although
numbers fluctuate some, there are typically about 20 active volunteers. The Center admits
anywhere from 40 to 75 birds a year, and averages a release rate of about 40% to 50%


There are three steps to becoming an education volunteer:

•      Information: You must become acquainted with the WVRRC’s purpose, history, and
       future plans. Also, you must learn about raptors and their ecology. Obviously, this is
       an immense amount of knowledge. We only require the basics outlined in this text.

•      Hands On Experience: The hands-on training involves going to the Center with
       experienced volunteers to learn about the rehabilitation process and to gain
       experience handling raptors.

•      Presenting: You should attend and help on at least two presentations with an
       experienced education volunteer. The Education Director will decide when your
       training is complete, and when you can begin doing presentations on your own.


Conducting educational programs and handling our non-releasable education birds can be
extremely rewarding. Of course, in order to conduct education programs, you must be quite
comfortable handling the birds.

It is important to remember the following:

•      Remain calm at all times. If you get flustered and frustrated, the bird will probably get
       flustered as well. Take your time and be patient.

•      Wear gloves every time you handle the birds, even screech-owls.

•      Be careful with yourself. First and foremost, don’t get hurt. Remember that even
       though these birds are all permanently injured, they can still hurt you.

•      Be careful with the birds, as well. While the birds are in your possession at a
       program, they are your responsibility – their lives are in your hands. Make sure jesses
       are properly secured around their legs, cages are properly latched, and you have a
       tight hold on the leash whenever you handle the bird. A moment’s lapse can be
       deadly – remember, we have these birds because they would die in the wild.

•      Each education bird is unique – each has a different injury, different behavior, and a
       different “personality.” Consistency is one of the most important aspects of handling
       each bird - inconsistencies in handling can undo training. If we all follow these same
       procedures, the birds will have an easier time learning and understanding what is
       expected of them, and in the long run they will be more comfortable and at ease
       during educational programs and around people in general.

The following are the handling procedures for each of the birds:

"Annie," Red-tailed Hawk

Injury: Annie has imprinted humans - she is very comfortable around people. Annie’s been
with us since October of 1987. Due to old age, Annie’s vision is deteriorating. She seems to
be far-sighted, and has trouble seeing items up close.

Weight: Between 3 and a half and 4 and a half pounds. (The Education Director will weigh
each education bird regularly and record it with the bird’s history.)

Travel cage: Annie’s travel cage is the large cage with the fixed perch on top. In a pinch, she
can also be transported in the other large cage with the fixed perch on top, though this other
cage is much heavier and Annie doesn’t really like it. Never take Annie in any cage other
than these two – she doesn’t fit comfortably in any of the other cages.

Procedure: Annie is one of the “easiest” of our education birds. She is also a good bird to
practice handling. You don’t need to take Annie’s travel cage into her flight cage. We usually
set her travel cage in our car or on the square white freezer just inside the barn door. Annie
will sit calmly on her perch while you put her jesses on (and probably chirp to you while
you’re doing it). Make sure her leash is properly attached to her jesses. Use either a black
glove or large brown glove when handling Annie – even though she’s gentle, her talons are
sharp. Make a fist with your gloved hand and gently push it against the backs of her legs and
say “up.” She’ll probably step right up onto your fist. Hold on to the jesses inside your fist
and wrap the leash around your other hand for extra security. On windy days, Annie
sometimes jumps around, and it would be horrifying if she got away. The ground is also
sometimes slippery; make sure you’d still be able to keep hold of Annie (and any other bird)
if you slipped and fell. You can walk with Annie out of her cage, shut and lock her flight cage
door behind you, and put her in her travel cage. Take off her leash, make sure the travel
cage door is locked properly (double check it) and tie the leash around the perch on top.

At programs, Annie is usually well-behaved and calm. If you feel uncomfortable holding her,
or if she gets turned around wrong on your fist, set her down on the perch on top of her cage
for a break – just keep a hold of her leash. Generally, Annie is easy. For small groups, it is
sometimes ok for folks to pet Annie’s chest. Do not let more than one person pet her at a
time, and do not let her become surrounded on all sides by people. Remember, you don’t
have to let people pet her. If you’re not comfortable, or if Annie seems uncomfortable, just
nicely tell the audience members no. Do not let anyone hold Annie.

After programs, just do the same procedure in reverse. Hook her leash on, take her out of
her travel cage, walk her into her flight cage, put her down on her perch and take off her
jesses. Put the travel cage back in the barn and attach her leash and jesses to it. If the
green turf stuff is dirty, rinse it in the sink and set it out to dry. If Annie’s cage cover is dirty,
take it home and wash it and return it to the barn as soon as possible. Or, leave a note that
the cover needs to be washed and the ed directors will take care of it. Just make sure you
leave the travel cage and green turf stuff clean for the next use.

"Bubo," Great Horned Owl

Injury: Bubo came to us in early 1999 as a very young owl that had apparently fallen out of
the nest. We raised her and hacked her out twice – both times she ended up on the ground,
near the Center, starving. She is physically fit but mentally challenged. She still exhibits
juvenile owl behavior.

Weight: about 4 pounds

Travel cage: Bubo usually travels in the cage with the screw-off perch – there are two cages
with screw-off perches, and she usually goes in the one with the thicker wood bars – though
she can also travel in Annie’s cage.

Procedure: Bubo can be intimidating, but this shouldn’t discourage you from handling her
and taking her to programs. Take her travel cage into her flight cage. Set it on the ground
and open the travel cage door. Use either a black glove or large brown glove to handle
Bubo. Go up to her, make a fist, and tell her “up.” Bubo steps up from either the front or the
back – but we usually have better luck from the front. She will first bite your glove, but when
you persist, she will probably fly to the other end of the cage. Calmly follow her and
repeat. She will most likely step up after one or two flights around her cage. Hold her close
to your body and walk to her travel cage. Usually, you can just point her at the cage when
you get close and she’ll jump right in. Once she’s in her travel cage, you can put her jesses
on. She’ll try to bite your hands, but if you’re quick, you can avoid getting bitten. Sometimes
it helps to shield your hand with a glove. Once the jesses are on, shut the cage door tightly
and lock it properly, using the leash snap to fasten the door shut. Double check the door –
Bubo has been known to jump around in her travel cage.

At programs, Bubo is usually well-behaved. She loves the perch on top of her cage and will
try to fly to it during programs. It’s best to either let her sit on the perch or walk around
holding her as close to your body as possible. If she’s snuggled in against you, she’s much
less likely to try to fly to her perch. Keep a tight hold on the jesses and leash at all times –
Bubo is a very strong bird. DO NOT let audience members pet or reach for Bubo – the result
could be disastrous.

After the program, reverse the previous procedure. Take her travel cage into her flight
cage. Sometimes Bubo will take her jesses off – if she hasn’t, take them off while she’s still
inside her travel cage. The just open her travel cage door all the way and she’ll fly out.

As described in Annie’s section, wash off the green stuff and the cage cover as
necessary. Leave the cage clean for the next program.

"Orion," Broad-winged Hawk

Injury: Orion was hit by a car in Marion County in 2000. He lacks flight feathers on his left
wing. Due to tissue damage, the feathers will not grow in. His injury is very obvious when he
flaps or spreads his wings.

Weight: about one pound

Travel cage: Currently, Orion usually travels in the same cage that Bubo uses. He can also
travel in the other large cage with the screw-off perch. He cannot travel in either of Annie’s
cages because the bar spacing is too wide, and he can’t travel in Otus’s cages because
they’re too small.

Procedure: Orion is a high-strung bird. The most important thing to remember with him is to
take your time and move slowly. We usually set his travel cage in our car or on top of the
square white freezer just inside the barn door – don’t take it into his flight cage. Orion’s
jesses will be on the travel cage – they’re black and thin, easily distinguishable from other
jesses. Use a small gray glove when handling Orion. When you go in his flight cage, he’ll
probably jump on the ground and make an attempt to run away from you. Very calmly get
him to step up onto your glove – he step ups from the back, but if he’s on the ground, it may
necessary to make him step up from the front. Once he’s on your glove, slowly walk him to
one of his perches and have him step down (from the back) – push the backs of his legs
against the perch and tell him “down.” Very slowly, put the jesses on him. Hook up the leash,
have him step up from the back (say “up”) and walk him out of his cage to his travel
cage. Once in his travel cage, unhook the leash and securely close and fasten the cage door

At programs, Orion is very well-behaved but gets nervous quickly. It’s important not to let
audience members surround him – use your judgment. You’ll probably feel him tense up
before he jumps. Because of his injury, Orion can’t flip around and land back on your glove
as easily as the other birds can. Sometimes he flaps and flaps and then hangs upside
down. It might be necessary to use your other hand to support his back and help him get
right-side up, back on your glove. The key with Orion is calmness and slow but firm

Inconsistencies will hurt Orion’s training more than the other birds – never, never grab Orion
by the legs and try to force him to do what you want. It took a lot of time and work to gain
this bird’s trust. Go slowly with him.

After programs, do the same procedure in reverse. Take him out of his travel cage, walk him
to his flight cage, step him down onto a perch, slowly take off his jesses. Clean his travel
cage and cover as necessary.

"Otus," Eastern Screech-Owl

Injury: Otus came to us in the winter of 2002 after collision with a vehicle. She is blind in her
left eye and (we think) suffered some brain damage in the accident.

Weight: about 6 ounces

Travel cage: either of the two smallest cages

Procedure: If Otus is in her loft cage, take the travel cage in there with you. Otus can step up
from either the front or the back, though she seems to prefer the back. When you approach
her and try to get her to step up, she will probably fly from her perch and hang on the
mesh. Calmly fly her back and forth from perch to mesh to perch until she tires a bit - you’ll
probably have to do this five or six times. Then, once she’s tired, she should step up onto
your glove (small gray glove). Hold her close to your body, bend down and have her step
down onto the perch in the travel cage. When she sees the perch in there, she’ll probably
hop onto it. Then put on her jesses. She’ll usually stand calmly while you put them on. Don’t
be afraid of Otus biting you - even if she tries, it doesn’t hurt at all. Secure the travel cage
door using the leash snap to fasten it shut.

Otus is great at programs - very easy. She likes the perches on top of the travel cages and
will sometimes try to fly to them. If she does jump off your hand during a program, she will
usually flip back around and land on your glove. Otus is very comfortable sitting on top of a
travel cage - just hold on to the leash. Audience members can pet Otus. But as with Annie, if
Otus seems uncomfortable or if you’re uncomfortable, nicely tell audience members
no. Also, do not let anyone hold Otus.

Some words of caution - Otus has full use of her wings and can fly very well - make sure you
always have a good hold of her leash. Also, Otus is terrified of Bubo, with good reason - in
the wild, great horned owls may prey on screech owls - so be sure to keep them far apart
from each other.

After programs, reverse the procedure. Take the travel cage into her loft cage, take off the
jesses, have her step up on your glove, then set her on a perch in the loft cage. Clean the
cage and cover as needed.


•    Sign the birds out by leaving a note on the blank side of the daily log. Ask the
     volunteers for that day to leave food if they have not fed already.

•    Take the Black Box with you. It is located in the bottom of the cabinet below the
     microwave. It contains our permit, literature, gloves and other supplies you may need
     at any program. Blank education report forms are also in the Black Box. There are
     tablecloths with our logo for use.

•    Place cage covers over each cage. Make sure cage covers and cages are clean. The
     cages must be level and secure inside your vehicle. The perches inside the cages
     must be perpendicular to the direction of travel so that the birds may travel facing
     forward. The cage cover should be lifted on at least one side for air circulation.

•    Keep a small amount of air circulating inside the vehicle. NEVER - no matter the
     weather - EVER leave the birds completely shut up inside a car. In hot weather avoid
     leaving them in the car altogether unless you can leave the car running with the air
     conditioner on. An extra set of keys is helpful in these situations.

•    Do not allow smoke anywhere near the birds, especially in the car, and keep noise
     and/or music down to a minimum.

•    Never leave the birds in an unsecured or unattended area.


•    Always place the birds higher than your audience.

•    Never allow the birds to be surrounded or approached from behind.

•    Always keep jesses and leashes on all birds at all times. Make sure leash ends are
     fully secured to you or the cage.

•    Be sure to double check jesses before removing any of the birds from their
     cages. Bubo and Otus frequently remove their jesses.

•    Whenever any of the birds seem agitated, place them back inside their cage and
     cover the cage. Usually, a 15-20 minute break is sufficient.

•    If you are outside, be sure to shade the birds to prevent dehydration. The birds will sit
     with their beaks open, panting, when they’re hot or thirsty. There is a spray bottle in
     the Black Box which you can use to give the birds a drink. It also helps to mist the
     birds with the spray water bottle.


Although each individual is unique in his or her teaching style, we like to emphasize a
“discovery” approach. This is particularly effective with a young audience. After introducing
yourself and the WVRRC, try to be the person with the questions, as opposed to simply
regurgitating standardized answers. Ask the audience members to compare and contrast
the similarities and differences between the birds - ask why they think these differences
exist. Allow them to discover the characteristics that define a raptor. Ask broad questions.

Children will frequently ask if the birds are pets. It is important to stress that they are not
pets, but that the WVRRC has a federal license to maintain and rehabilitate the birds. Many
people are not aware that these birds are protected by the federal government and that
there is up to a $2,000/2-year prison term for anyone found illegally possessing any
migratory bird species - including simply possessing a single feather!

There are several hands-on items you can take along on your presentations that audiences
usually find interesting. These include pellets, bird bones, and a CD of raptor calls. We have
display boards and large mounted photos that we take for booth set-ups at fairs and
festivals. We have two different style t-shirts available to the public for a specific donation
amount (t-shirts with the black and white design on the back are $15, gray “Raptor Day” t-
shirts are $12). Both the Adopt-A-Bird and Membership brochures, as well as newsletters or
other event information, should be available at all programs and booth set-ups.

It should go without saying that presenters must dress appropriately. Ripped jeans and t-
shirts with big stains on them are NOT appropriate. Remember that you are representing the
Raptor Center and all the hard work our volunteers do day in and day out. Make a good,
professional impression on your audience!

A sample educational program outline can be found on the last page of this manual.


•      Follow all procedures outlined in the “Handling the Ed Birds” section.

•      Be sure you leave the jesses and leash attached to the bird’s cage. Wash the green
       turf in the sink that goes inside of the travel cage. If the cage covers and the
       tablecloth are dirty, take them home and wash them and return them as soon as

•      Double check cages to make sure they’re locked and make sure food was left out for
       the birds.

•      Fill out an Education Report (found in a folder in the Black Box) and put it back into
       the folder. The Education Director will pick it up later.


Three characteristics separate raptors from other birds - talons, beak shape, and keen


Most raptors have a tubular shaped eye that adds distance between the cornea and the
retina. This tubular eye shape produces a binocular effect that enables the bird to see long
distances. Often, a second eyelid is present, called a nictitating membrane, to cleanse,
moisten and protect the eye without closing the eyelid. Because their eyes are stationary in
the sockets, giving them a narrow field of view, they must be able to turn their heads a great
distance. Both owls and hawks can turn their heads 270 degrees; however, hawks need not
turn their heads that far since their eyes are on the sides of their heads, unlike the owls,
whose eyes are in the front like ours.


All raptors have excellent hearing. Their ears (in fact, all bird’s ears) are located on the sides
of their heads. Owls have the best hearing of all raptors. The ear tufts on owls are unrelated
to their hearing. Unlike other raptors, owl's ears are asymmetrical, which gives them a
broader range of hearing, helping to make them accurate hunters, even in total darkness.


We suspect most birds of prey have a poor sense of smell. The exception here are the
Turkey Vultures, who use their excellent sense of smell to locate decaying meat.

Wings and Flight:

There are three major wing forms of raptor species. In general, long, wide wings for soaring
are found in vultures, eagles and broad-winged hawks such as the Red-tail. The shorter,
rounder wings of Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks are for fast wing beats and
glides. Long, pointed wings are common to the falcons, which allow for very fast wing beats
and high-speed dives. The Peregrine Falcon and the Gryfalcon are the two fastest birds in
the world. They can reach speeds in excess of 200 mph in a dive, and the peregrine can fly
more than 90 miles an hour on the straight and level.

Owls have specialized feathers that allow for silent flight. On all the leading edges of owl
flight feathers, there are serrations that buffer sound.


Raptor's nests can be found in a variety of places including trees, on cliffs and
underground. Many raptors make nests with sticks and other materials, while others do very
little to construct nests.

While most birds of prey are solitary hunters, some species such as the Harris Hawk hunt in
groups. Bird eating species such as Peregrine Falcons kill their prey in the air. Eagles and
Osprey catch fish near the surface of the water. The Snail Kite in Florida eats primarily snails
and other mollusks. Practically every ecosystem in the world has raptors specialized to prey
upon whatever resources are available.


Except for the Great-horned and Screech-owls, most raptors migrate. In some instances, the
Red-tailed Hawk will also not migrate. Most hawks migrate long distances. Many of our
North American species spend their winters in Central and South America.


At least four laws protect raptors in the United States. In 1972, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
was amended providing wide scale protection for raptors. Other laws, such as the National
Emblem Act, protect the Bald Eagle.

Why Protect Them? Who Cares?

The most important reason to protect raptors is because of their essential role in nature and
the environment. Any predator, including a raptor, is an essential part of an ecosystem
because it controls prey populations and removes genetically poor or sick animals. Raptors
must be protected to ensure the balance of nature.

Secondly, all birds serve as indicator species. Being especially susceptible to pollutants
within an ecosystem, birds, or the lack thereof, give us a clue as to the overall health of that
system. Birds are also important in the role of seed dispersal. Without birds, agriculture in
this country would suffer great losses.

Financially speaking, raptors are also important for two other reasons. On a farm, raptors
can control rodent populations. Secondly, hawk-watching stations around the country bring
thousands of people to watch migrating birds of prey, bringing in thousands of tourism


•      Bird bones are hollow. If you were to weigh a pile of bones from a bird and a pile of
       feathers from the same bird, the feathers would weigh more.

•      The American Kestrel is the smallest and most common falcon in North
       America. Although they occasionally dive for prey like their larger, faster cousins the
       Peregrine and Gyrfalcon, they are mainly a hovering bird. Also, they have a false set
       of eyes on the back of their head to confuse predators and a dark band over their
       real eyes to help hide them.

•   All birds of prey egest (bring up, like a cat with a hair ball) pellets of indigestible
    bones and fur.

•   Bald Eagle pairs often return to the same nests year after year.

•   In most raptor species, both males and females help in raising their offspring.

•   A Barn Owl's sense of hearing is so excellent that in scientific studies they have been
    able to hunt successfully in complete and total darkness.

•   Despite the old wives’ tale that says otherwise - because of a bird's poor sense of
    smell, it is OK to replace a nestling that has fallen out of its nest - the parents cannot
    smell the scent of humans on the baby.

•   In 1963 there were only 417 known pairs of Bald Eagles in the lower 48. In 1999,
    there were 5, 784 estimated nesting pairs in the lower 48. The Bald Eagle was down
    listed from an endangered species to a threatened species in 1999, and in 2007
    was delisted altogether.

•   In 1972 there were only 39 nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons. In 1999, there were
    1,650 nesting. The Peregrine was down listed to threatened in the summer of 2000.

•   In 1972, the use of DDT was banned in the US. However, we still make it and sell it
    for use in countries in Central and South America.

•   In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was passed.


Feel free to modify this basic outline. All of these points should be elaborated on during a

I. Introduce yourself.

What is a raptor? What does rehabilitation mean?

Get first bird out. What kind of bird is this?

II. Three characteristics that separate raptors from other birds. All three have to do with what
the birds eat.

What does this bird eat?

How does this bird catch its prey? With talons – all birds of prey have talons.

Then how does the bird eat its food? With sharp, hooked beak – all raptors have hooked
beaks. When a raptor eats its prey, it eats the entire creature. It cannot digest all the bones
and fur, so the bird brings up pellets.

How does the bird locate its prey? With excellent vision.

III. The story of why we have the bird – why it cannot be released back into the wild. Get the
second bird out.

IV. Other adaptations of raptors. This will vary depending on which birds you bring to the
program, but some general things to talk about:

Owls use hearing to locate prey. Have asymmetrical ears that are cupped in different

Raptors cannot move eyes in sockets. Owls eyes are on the front of their faces, so they must
turn their heads to see. Can turn 270 degrees. Owls have 14 vertebrae in their necks,
humans have about seven.

Except for the turkey vulture, we do not think raptors can smell very well.

How to tell females from males – how much do the birds weigh?

Discuss camouflage.

Discuss migration.

Discuss fledglings – tell them not to pick up fledglings unless they’re in danger.

V. Story of the second bird.

VI. Why do we need a raptor center? Why are the birds important to humans?

Balance of nature – necessity of predators to control prey populations. Raptors (and all
birds) are “indicator species” – they let us know when there is a problem in the
environment. Examples: DDT, canaries in the mines.

We are a non-profit, completely volunteer-based organization that exists because of
donations from kind folks like you. Now give us all your money!

VII. Take audience questions.


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