Schlitz Audubon’s Raptor Program was established in 1987, and the support of the donor and volunteer community has played a vital role in keeping the program growing and thriving since day one. Our partnership with the We Energies Foundation, the premier supporter of the Raptor Program, dates back to early 2000 when they generously sponsored our monthly Raptor Saturday events, which are still going strong today. With such steadfast support, our Raptor Program has grown to become the most comprehensive in the Midwest.
Raptors in the Community
The 17 birds in our program, including our newest, a Barred Owl named Perseus, are all non-releasable. Each of their unique experiences have made them reliant upon humans for survival, and they can no longer live safely in the wild. We’re lucky to have them because these birds have a big job! Collectively, they reach 50,000 people every year by starring in more than 350 educational programs that take place across the region in classrooms, libraries, museums, and at outdoor events like Wisconsin State Fair.
Wisconsin State Fair
Of all our birds’ endeavors, the eleven-day run of the State Fair is by far the opportunity with the greatest reach, and another testament to the power of We Energies support. Thousands of fairgoers each day are awestruck by flight demonstrations at We Energies Energy Park: Audience members come face to face with owls, compare their grip strength to that of an eagle, and witness the six-foot wingspan of Tallulah, the Turkey Vulture, as she buzzes the crowd with a fly-by. Additional up-close and- personal meet and greet opportunities also take place throughout each day of the fair, with smaller birds such as Malary, our female American Kestrel, or Loki, our American Crow.
Program Grows Stronger with Donor Support
State Fair is a lot of work for our birds and their human handlers, but every member of this team is used to logging long hours. Our three dedicated raptor staff members and 50 volunteers—an amazing group who averages 6,200 hours of service per year—provide the daily care of our birds and assist us in providing programming. It is only with their help and the help of our donors, like our long-term supporter We Energies, that we are able to reach so many people each year and to keep our birds safe, healthy, and ready to teach.