We wound up our school year with a final field trip that took us up island to the Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan, BC. Since we have been learning quite a bit about owls while reading The Guardians of Ga’hoole series (the author of these books has done extensive research about various species of owls and their corresponding behaviours and habitats), we thought we would tie in some of our learning with an up close and personal encounter with owls and other raptors.
- training and working with captive-bred birds of prey
- training their handlers
- educating the public about raptors
This is a great place to take the whole family to see these magnificent birds of prey up close, and a great way for the kids to connect what they may have read about to something visual. It’s one thing to read about how a falcon stuns its prey in the air, it’s another thing to actually *see it with your own eyes. The kids were able to see and learn about various species of raptors, including but not limited to: Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and various species of owls. These birds were even able to put on a flying demonstration to woo the crowds. The children (and moms and dads too) were able to witness a falcon’s hunting techniques, view a Great Horned owl and his wing span, see some baby falcon and eagle chicks, and witness the majestic pass of the resident Bald Eagle Mahwe. Unfortunately, Mahwe was enjoying the tree tops a little too much to come in for a landing, but such is the way with the wild.
If you’re in the Malahat area of beautiful Vancouver Island, be sure to make the Pacific Northwest Raptors a place to visit. It’s an experience your family will be sure to remember.
*Here’s a little video of some of the falconry training that is available at the centre. Summer programs are available to children, and volunteers over the age of 13 are welcome.