All birds are on display under an educational permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Each bird has a disability that prohibits it from being released into the wild (see stories by each photo). We think of these birds as winged ambassadors for their species and feel that each of their stories can help people learn how to better conserve raptors. Seeing such amazing creatures, up close and personal, is a valubale learning opportunity that leaves quite an impression!
What is a Raptor?
While distantly related to dinosaurs, raptors are actually birds of prey. There are three identifying features that classify a bird as a raptor and distinguish them from other flighted birds:
1) Raptors have binocular vision which allows for accurate depth perception. There is a rhyme that can help us remember this: "Eyes in front like to hunt, eyes on the side likes to hide".
2) Raptors have sharp, hooked claws called talons. They use them capture and kill their prey.
3) Raptors have a hooked beak they use to rip apart and eat their prey.
If you see a bird with all of these characteristics, you have spotted a raptor!