Friday, April 20, 2018 Elyria 49°
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Outdoors

Metroparks' Raptor Center is home to birds of prey

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    The Lorain County Metroparks Raptor Center at Carlisle Reservation is a permanent home for birds.

    BRAD ZAHAR / CHRONICLE

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    Havoc, a peregrine falcon, sits in his cage at the Carlisle Reservation Raptor Center.

    BRAD ZAHAR / CHRONICLE

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The last few weeks I’ve heard and seen quite a few birds of prey throughout various outdoor expeditions in Northeast Ohio. I went to bed a few weeks ago to the hooting of a great horned owl and saw a few bald eagles while out hiking recently.

With this new interest of raptors, I decided to forego watching another disappointing Browns game Sunday and instead check out the Carlisle Reservation Raptor Center in LaGrange. There I was wowed by seeing some awesome birds up close and learned about their purpose with the Lorain County Metroparks and the Raptor Center’s mission by chatting with Mary Ewers, Carlisle Reservation Senior Naturalist.

“All of our birds are non-releasable,” said Ewers. “We have birds with a lot of wing injuries and a couple of eye injuries. Since these are predator animals, they need their eyes and their wings, so they’re here solely for education.”

The birds at the Carlisle Reservation Raptor Center are barred owls, an eastern screech owl, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, a peregrine falcon, an American kestrel and a bald eagle. This wide variety of birds that call the Lorain County Metroparks home has come from one of three rehabilitation centers across the area in Spencer, Bay Village and Castalia.

All of these birds are wild-hatched and many provide educational opportunities. Visitors, schools and others learn about the variety of raptor species we have in Northeast Ohio and how each of them benefits our ecosystem.

“We get a lot of people who have never seen an owl up close, or never seen a turkey vulture up close,” Ewers said. “One of my favorite things is people say ‘the turkey vulture is so ugly.’ I like being able to turn it around from these are really ugly birds to this bird is so useful they have a definite role and we need them.”

In touring the exhibit, a few of the birds were more than willing to pose for a photo. But some like Thor, the bald eagle, after a few clicks of the shutter on my camera, retreated to the back of his home, hiding so I could not get any more photos of him.

“We see over 2,000 people per year,” Ewers estimates. “We will go and use (the birds) as education outreach programs but we also have some (at Carlisle Reservation).”

The Raptor Center is a permanent home for the birds to live out their days under great care.

These birds need human care twice a day, seven days a week and 365 days per year. There are a few full-time staff members including Ewers, but much of the operation relies on about 15 volunteers to keep the birds fed and healthy.

People can also adopt a raptor to help provide ongoing and necessary care for these birds of prey.

Cabela’s says ‘smile’

Soon enough the mood will shift to Christmas (if it hasn’t already). 

Cabela’s in Avon will have free pictures with Santa on Saturdays from Nov. 25-Dec. 16.

Photos will be from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Children, families, friends and dogs are welcome to attend the photo event.

Kids under 12 who get their photo taken will get a “kids eat free” meal ticket, too.

For a full list of events, visit Cabelas.com/Avon.

Contact Brad Zahar at bzaharoutdoors@gmail.com.

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