Saturday, July 16, 2011

#013 Best Place To See a Bird Bigger than You

Today I finally made it out to #013 Best Place to See a Bird Bigger Than You: World Center for Birds of Prey. 

This place was amazing! I had a great time checking it out.   To give you some history, The World Center for Birds of Prey was established in 1984 in Boise, Idaho.  They are currently the Peregrine Fund's World Headquarters, but the fund was originally established (in 1970) at Cornell University and Fort Collins Colorado.  Their main goal is to breed birds of prey for release into the wild. 

This is also a wonderful place to donate your money.  In fact, they were even featured in Reader's Digest as one of the best "get your bang for your buck" type places, as 94% of donations go directly to support their mission. 

To get to Birds of Prey, you basically get yourself on Cole Road and follow until you wouldn't believe it was Cole Road anymore (about 5 miles from the Costco area of town).  The road gets smaller and smaller, and eventually you get to the turn off for Birds of Prey.  I found it was marked really well.  From there, you go on a beautiful drive to much higher elevation, along Flying Hawk Lane, and you finally reach the center.

It cost me $7 for admission and I believe there are family prices, senior discounts, and AARP card-carrier discounts.  You can also buy a year long membership (individual was $35) which I think lets you go as much as you want.

Once you enter, you get into the main courtyard.  It was beautiful, and in addition to the bird exhibits, there are also many different wild birds flying around above you.

I was starting to regret not wearing shorts, as it was a very hot day, but the majority of the information was inside.

One of their fairly new exhibits was the Condor Cliffs, which was amazing.  It was obviously hard to get the birds to show up on camera, so I took pictures of the information to give you an idea of what was there to see.  The condors were HUGE -- they looked like giant black bears sleeping up on a perch.  I even got to see one of them fly.

Outside were also about four different bird exhibits.

I think the Bateleur Eagle was my favorite.  I love that the face and feet colors adjust in response to mood changes. This bird also had an egg that it spent a very long time attending to, and eventually sat on.  In addition, there was some gross meat in there for it to eat, surrounded by flies.  Not the cutest part :)

From there, you can go into the Interpretive Center, which has all sorts of information and displays.  It talks about how the place was started and the people involved, as well as different information about the birds and how things affect them. It is great for children, as there are lots of interactive exhibits (like animal pelts, feathers, examples of eggs, etc.).

Outside of this center are four more bird exhibits.  My favorite here was the owl -- he has these super cute giant eyebrows sticking out.  There was also a turkey vulture and a giant bird that said it sometimes eats MONKEYS.  That is freaking huge.

I timed it so I was able to go to the live bird exhibit, and this was in a room that was decorated to look like the forest.

The volunteer was very knowledgable.  As someone that likes to see customer service with a smile (who doesn't??) I found myself incredibly impressed with the volunteers.  The two I met were friendly, very knowledgable, and had both been there since 2002 and both worked over 800 hours!

The bird we got to see was a peregrine falcon and it was shrieking for most of the time, which made it very entertaining. She said that falcons are the fastest animal in the world and have been clocked at over 240 mph when swooping down for their prey.  Apparently this was discovered by having falconers sky dive with their birds, which I think is pretty interesting.  She said the next bird presentation would be a different bird, so I think they use different onces at each presentation (there are about five per day). This was about 40 minutes.

After that, I went on the falconry tour.  This took us across the parking lot to a center set up for falconry in particular.  It was very interesting and I hadn't realized falconry was still something that was actively practied.  This tour was about thirty minutes and twice per day 11:30 and 2:30).

I believe the center is open seven days a week, which makes it very easy to schedule time to attend. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon and I loved to see all the birds.


Oh to Be a Muse said...

$7 is a really good deal for all of this -- the bird exhibit looks pretty cool!

by the way, my harry potter review is up!

Also, please vote for me in the Style a Shape Contest if you haven't already - click this link and hit the 'Like' button for my look!

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Anonymous said...

A center for birds of prey sounds so amazing. I hope India catches up to the west and takes necessary steps to protect the wild and make an effort to connect the people to nature. It is because the absence of these kinds of centers for wildlife that the people in India don't know about the importance of the fellow creatures of the world.

amazey said...

Sounds like a great place. It will be something for me to keep in mind when my daughter gets older. Thanks for sharing!

Christine's Pantry said...

Great post! Love the photos!

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! That sounds like a great way to spend some time! I love everything about birds and I've never seen a Condor, so that would be a plus...xox

Lauren Hairston said...

I'm so inspired by you finding all these cool places right where you live! I need to make more of an effort...

Kelsey said...

Yeah I thought $7 was pretty decent! I read your Harry Potter review AND voted for you, so excited to see if you win :)

Green Pastures -- I am surprised India is lacking in facilities like this. The falconry center explained that falconry started in places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc. so I always figured India would also have a special connection with nature. Hopefully something like this will develop.

Amazey, all the little kids seemed to really like it :) I was impressed with how quiet they managed to be during the live bird presentation.

Thanks Christine!

Mom, the condor was sweet. I think you would like this many places for us to explore!

annnnd Lauren, I think it is ingrained in me now! haha my old job was to program entertainment for my University, and everyone was always saying how boring my town was. I got really frustrated because I could always rattle off plenty of things to do. Now I actively seek it out and I think I am starting to see things even Boise natives haven't! I think when you live in a town you take it for granted, because you can always go "sometime." Now I am enjoying acting like a tourist in my new town :) It's nice to be able to throw out the line "Oh I just moved here" in all sorts of situations!

not a minx, a moron, or a parasite said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! Love the photos!