The Clermont County Park District hosted a ‘Birds of Prey Day’ at the Chilo Lock #34 Visitor Center and Museum Feb. 3.
“Once or twice a year, we hold presentations like this to provide a fun and educational way for people to learn about predatory birds that live in the county,” said Chief Naturalist Keith Robinson. “We especially want kids to learn how important these types of birds are that live in our own backyards.”
Raptors, Inc., a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that rescues and rehabilitates birds of prey, gave a presentation and live demonstration with three birds of prey to the more than 30 people in attendance at the Chilo Park.
Loveland resident Susan Williams is the educational director at Raptors, Inc.
If rehabilitation is not possible and the injured birds cannot be released, they are then incorporated into the educational programs and presentations that Raptors, Inc. holds periodically for county communities.
As Williams brought each bird out for display, she briefly talked about its habitat, its eating and hunting habits, its speed, the conservation efforts underway to protect its habitats and environments, and any other unusual and interesting facts about each respective bird of prey (a peregrine falcon and two owls).
The five breeds of birds that make up the raptor family include hawks, falcons, owls, eagles, and osprey. All of these birds, which have a life span of three to five years in the wild, are fairly common in Clermont County.
Williams said that the largest threat to their habitats and their lives is people.
"Eighty percent of the hundreds of birds that we see every year have been hit by cars," she said. "Poaching and tree/habitat destruction is also a huge threat to the lives and the natural environment to local and national birds of prey."
The county park district and Raptors, Inc. are committed to educating people about the importance of these 'top of the food chain' predatory birds.
"We want people to learn from presentations like this an appreciation of these beautiful birds," Williams said. "There is a very real coolness factor involved with being able to identify these birds in your yard or along our streets perched on poles, wires, and trees. We advocate the protection of predatory birds and are always encouraging and enticing people to do something positive on their behalf."