Migration often inspires images of springtime and birds flying in to Wisconsin for our warm… Read Story >
We founded our Raptor Program as a way to help educate the public about these dynamic birds, and their importance to the ecosystem. Our premier collection emphasizes raptors: hawks, owls, eagles and falcons, but also includes other birds of prey such as a Turkey Vulture and an American Crow. Every one of our resident birds are not releasable to the wild and are in our permanent care. They have taken up the mantle of feathered ambassadors and are dedicated to providing information about their wild relatives, habitat concerns, and issues facing raptors today.
These powerful and graceful birds, each with their own story, make an enormous impact, providing a true connection and appreciation for all wildlife and the habitat we share. Each of our live demonstrations provides an unparalleled experience designed to enthrall audiences of all ages.
Raptors in Our Region
Raptors are the largest birds in North America. Some birds of prey are migratory, and others are year-round residents of the Midwest. With a keen eye, in the Milwaukee area, you can see a multitude of owls, hawks, falcons, and Turkey Vultures in the wild. Raptors are strong apex predators that can be seen everywhere: in your backyard, or along trails while on a hike. Depending on the season, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Broad-winged Hawks, and other birds of prey can be found perching or flying throughout greater Milwaukee. Our Raptor Program offers the opportunity to see and experience these birds up close.
As predators, raptors are susceptible to the environmental factors that affect their prey animals. Birds of prey can provide a litmus for the health of rodents, amphibians, fish, and other birds. If the health of a raptor species appears to be in decline, as an apex predator, this can be a signal that something else has gone awry with plant or animal communities in the food chain or the greater ecosystem. A healthy raptor population suggests that the surrounding ecosystem is in good health. In Wisconsin, it was birds of prey that made apparent the dangers of the insecticide DDT, leading to discontinuing widespread use of this chemical. The health of the ecosystem has, in turn, become healthier for all creatures, humans included.
Combined, our birds participate in 350 educational programs every year. These educational locations include classrooms, libraries, museums, and outdoor events like Wisconsin State Fair. The birds are trained with positive reinforcement techniques based on trust developed between each bird and individual staff members and volunteers. Birds teach about habitat loss, adaptations, ecosystem health, and many other topics. To learn about having a Raptor participate in an education program at your school, business, or social function, please contact our Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Our Raptors at the Center and in the Community
You can see our Raptors at the Center! Raptor Saturday is an hour-long themed education program on the first Saturday of each month. Meet a Raptor every Saturday and Sunday from 1:00pm – 2:00pm at Word with a Bird. Sky Walker, our resident Red-tailed Hawk, is perched daily inside the Raptor Exhibit in the front of the building.
You can also find us out in the community educating about raptors. Our staff, volunteers, and birds participate in Bald Eagle Appreciation Days, Bald Eagle Watching Days, and other public programs that celebrate and educate about birds of prey. Each year we spend the duration of Wisconsin State Fair in We Energies Energy Park performing for the public multiple times every day. Our birds often visit schools to participate in assemblies and class visits.