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Grinnell, the Barred Owl at the Raptor Center (photo by Aaron Zaremsky)

The Raptor Center

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The Raptor Center has been with the Glen since the 1970s, but its obscure location has made it difficult for most hikers to access. I’m hoping the images in this post will help motivate any nature enthusiasts in town to check out these gorgeous birds in person. It’s worth the hike!

The Raptor Center’s official function, as stated on its website, is to “rehabilitate injured birds of prey while educating the public about raptors, other wildlife, and conservation issues.” The center takes in over 200 injured birds a year and is able to rehabilitate close to half that number.

Visitors to the Raptor Center get a special opportunity to view elusive birds that are difficult to spot in the wild. It’s also a chance to get a firsthand look at a group of animals that present some of the most incredible evolutionary adaptations in the animal kingdom. The Peregrine Falcon, for example, can easily reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour in a dive (that is not a typo; I repeat: 200 miles per hour!). Other species, such as the Barn Owl, have evolved specially fringed feather-tips that slice through the air, making the bird virtually silent in flight.

These adaptations are beautiful examples of the varied and complex ways organisms have adapted for survival throughout the history of life on earth. I invite anyone who is interested in seeing these birds up close to visit the Raptor Center during designated hours to tour the enclosures. I’ll include a Glen Helen map with directions too!

A special thanks to Dexter Norris for providing his expertise on the Natural History of Raptors for this entry.

Map to the Raptor Center


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