VIDEO: Raptors fly at Vernon nature centre

This Harris’s hawk is one of seven birds of prey The Raptors of Duncan B.C. showed off at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)This Harris’s hawk is one of seven birds of prey The Raptors of Duncan B.C. showed off at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
The Raptors wildlife educator Amanda DiCastri holds a Western screech owl. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)The Raptors wildlife educator Amanda DiCastri holds a Western screech owl. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
This Peregrine Falcon is rewarded for its flight demonstration with a tasty snack. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)This Peregrine Falcon is rewarded for its flight demonstration with a tasty snack. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
A Harris’s Hawk takes flight. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)A Harris’s Hawk takes flight. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
A Turkey Vulture rests between flights. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)A Turkey Vulture rests between flights. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Birds of prey are taking flight at Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC).

Duncan-based wildlife sanctuary The Raptors brought seven species of birds to the nature centre Wednesday, Aug. 24, and they’ll be available for the public to view and handle until Sept. 1.

The goal of The Raptors is to bring awareness to the importance of raptor conservation, providing programs and events year-round. It is also affiliated with the non-profit partner organization Raptor Rescue Society.

“Having these birds of prey demonstrate their power and finesse at the centre is always something to look forward to,” said Cheryl Hood, ABNC manager. “We’ve planned this event for some time and are so thrilled to have The Raptors return. This event is a major fundraiser for us and such a huge boost for ABNC. We just hope there is no smoke so participants can see the real majesty of these magnificent birds.

So far so good on the wildfire front which meant clear skies on Wednesday as The Raptors offered flight demonstrations of two owl species, a peregrine falcon, a Harris’s Hawk, a turkey vulture and an American Kestrel.

“Our mandate is to raise awareness for birds of prey and promote conservation. The birds we work with are from our visitor’s centre located in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, where they fly free and choose to return to us,” said Robyn Radcliffe, The Raptors’ director of operations. “The Allan Brooks Nature Centre does amazing conservation work and our partnership helps bring more appreciation to these wonderful birds.

The Raptors’ presentations include demonstrations for larger crowds which are observation only, as well as up-close and interactive encounters for groups of six to eight people in which participants get to put on a glove and hold a bird of prey. There are two daily demonstrations at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and four demonstrations per day at 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at Ticketseller. More information can be found at abnc.ca.

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