One of my favorite spots on the University's St. Paul campus is the Raptor Center. The Raptor Center specializes in medical care, rehabilitation, and conservation of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. In addition to treating approximately 800 birds a year, the internationally known program reaches more than 200,000 people each year through public education programs and events, provides training in avian medicine and surgery for veterinarians from around the world, and identifies emerging issues related to raptor health and populations.
I love visiting the Raptor Center. They give tours to the public every Tuesday through Friday. Tours typically start every half hour or so. It is amazing to see these birds up close, and to learn about them and why they are in the Raptor Center. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and give some great advice as to what we can do to help prevent future raptor injuries and diseases.
As you could guess, raptors do not have owners to help pay for their medical bills. This means that the majority of the workers at the Raptor Center do their work as volunteers. Students at the U of M and in CFANS dedicate their time to volunteer. You can click here to sign up to volunteer at the Raptor Center (that experience would look great on a veterinary school application!).
Some advice to prevent injuries and illness for raptors:
- Do not use lead based ammunition and fishing tackle. Lead poisoning is one of the biggest problems for these birds today. Twenty-five percent of the bald eagles admitted to the Raptor Center suffer from lead poisoning.
- Reduce E-Waste which deposits lead, mercury, silver, and cadmium into the environment which can be very hazardous to wildlife and humans.
- Do not throw left over food out of your car windows. This attracts mice which in turn attracts birds of prey to the roadside. A large number of the raptors that are brought in have been hit by cars.