This post is a day late and I apologize. I’ve been in bed sick the last few days and just couldn’t muster the mental strength to write this up.
Anyway, this will be an atypical Friday post in that, besides it coming on Saturday, it will not talk about my bird feeders or my backyard visitors at all. Instead, I’m going to show you all of the pictures from my visit to the Eagle Valley Raptor Center and tell you a little more about what I saw.
The Eagle Valley Raptor Center is located north of Central on 343rd St W. The actual raptor center is literally at its director, Ken Lockwood’s home. Call them at (316) 393-0710 to set up a tour just like mine.
Ken himself put on the tour for us and the first thing we noticed right away was the bucket he was holding and the dog with no eyes accompanying him. I can’t remember the dog’s name, but she was friendly as can be and a rescue. The poor dog lost her eyes after being abused and abandoned by previous owners. Luckily Ken was there to give her a better life! Anyway, the dog was excited which Ken chalked up to “smelling the mice.”
At first we thought that since we were near open fields, the dog must be smelling field mice. Well, no, Ken’s bucket actually contained a whole bunch of dead mice for feeding the birds. It was kind of gross at first, but you get used to it.
Ken took us around the various enclosures showing us all the neat birds he has on display. If you click the various pictures below, the species is listed in the description. We got to see two Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, an African Horned Owl, a Turkey Vulture, a Bald Eagle, a Golden Eagle, a Harris’s Hawk, a Barred Owl, and three Screech Owls. We got to give food to most of them!
Ken explained the some of the residents, like the Great Horned Owl, were unfriendly to humans and shouldn’t be fed. He told us that this is how he prefers the animals, since that means they can be rehabilitated and released into the wild once they’ve healed. Unfortunately, some of the birds were too injured to be released and it was just fine for them to be accustomed to humans.
One example was Wazoo the Bald Eagle who had lived at the EVRC for 22 years! Wazoo became excited as Ken called his name, knowing that a little rodent treat was on its way! Ken let us into the enclosure with Wazoo where I was able to give him mice and take some awesome up-close pictures. While, of course, petting Wazoo was a horrible idea, getting to see such a cool bird up close was amazing.
We got even closer to Hannah Montana, the Harris’s Hawk. Hannah was extremely vocal and even flew right onto our arms to eat a mouse. It was extraordinary getting to touch a bird like that.
Finally, we got very close to Herman Munster the Turkey Vulture. Herman was surprisingly the calmest and most docile of all. Sure, he’s ugly, but I have a new respect for vultures.
What Ken does for these birds is incredible. The birds he cares for would honestly have no hope of living if not for the Eagle Valley Raptor Center. I hope to return soon so I can see all these cool birds again.