Frequently Asked Questions
General Raptor Questions
- What is a raptor?
Raptors, or birds of prey, are birds that share certain characteristics, which set them apart from other birds. All raptors have a hooked beak, sharp talons on their feet, keen vision and a carnivorous diet. Birds that fit into the raptor category include owls, falcons, hawks, kites, eagles, harriers, osprey and vultures.
- What can I do to attract raptors?
They key to attracting any type of bird, including raptors, is to meet the bird’s needs for food, water, shelter and nesting sites. This can be done by leaving trees on your property for perching and nesting, as well as by building nest boxes for raptors such as Barn Owls or American Kestrels.
- How can I help raptors?
By taking a few simple actions, we can significantly reduce our negative impact on wildlife and help preserve these wonderful creatures. 1) Follow all wildlife laws 2) Properly dispose of trash and pick up litter around the roadways. This reduces the chance of raptors colliding with vehicles. 3) Discourage the use of pesticides/insecticides to prevent the indirect poisoning of raptors. Use safe alternatives and allow raptors to continue providing natural pest control. 4) Turn off extra lights and place stickers, silhouettes, or window alerts on the outside of windows and glass doors. This helps make windows and doors more visible which reduces the chance of window strikes. 5) Install nest boxes to help support raptor populations.
- What laws are there regarding raptors?
Raptors and the majority of other birds in the United States are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. 703 (MBTA). Federal agencies have further obligations to protect migratory birds, including eagles and other raptors, on lands under their jurisdiction (Executive Order 13186). Eagles are afforded additional protections under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. 668 (Eagle Act).
- Are you open to the public?
We are only open by private appointment or during our public shows. To schedule a program, please refer to our Program Request page or give us a call.
- When are your public shows?
Our Football, Fans, and Feathers shows are held the Fridays before home football games at 4PM. We also occasionally book off-site shows that are open to the public. For information on upcoming presentations, you can follow our Facebook page, sign up for our newsletter or check the events page on our website.
- What is the cost for a program?
Program costs will vary depending on location and type of program. To schedule a program, please refer to our Program Request page or give us a call.
- Is there a deposit required?
We do not require deposits to book a program.
- What is your cancellation policy?
Any cancellation within 24 hours is subject to a cancellation fee.
- How long does each program last?
A typical presentation lasts approximately an hour. However, we will modify presentations to meet your needs.
- Can I book multiple programs?
We can give multiple presentations in one day, yet do have a charge for “down time.”
- How far in advance do I have to book a presentation or tour?
We can book up months in advance, so we always suggest that you contact us as soon as you know your desired date/time. However, depending on our schedule and availability, we can sometimes accept last-minute requests. To schedule a program, please refer to our Program Request page or give us a call.
- How far will you travel?
We will travel as far as needed. We do charge for mileage/travel fees.
- Do we fly eagles elsewhere?
Yes, Please contact Director Wade Stevens with the details of your request. Please bear in mind that many events and venues are not suitable for an eagle flight, and we only select opportunities that provide us the opportunity to educate and further our conservation message.
- What should I do if I find an injured bird of prey?
Please refer to our “What to do- Injured Raptor” page. Injured raptors require prompt treatment so it is important that they be brought to a licensed rehabilitation center.
- Does the raptor center accept non-raptor wild birds or non-bird wildlife?
Since the Raptor Center is designed and permitted specifically to care for birds of prey, we are unable to accept any other type of bird. A current list of Alabama rehabilitators can be found on our rehabilitation page.
- What happens to birds that can’t be released?
Our main goal in rehabilitation is to help injured or sick raptors make a full recovery so that they can be released back into the wild, but sometimes that is not an option. Birds can be deemed non-releasable due to a variety of reasons including certain eye injuries, wing injuries or imprinting on humans when young. When a raptor cannot be released, yet a good quality of life is still ensured, the bird may become one of our raptor education ambassadors or be transferred to another zoological or educational facility.
- Does the Auburn University Raptor Center pick up injured birds?
Unfortunately, we do not have the staff to provide this service. Please refer to our “What to do- Injured Raptor” page for steps on what to do and who to contact if you find an injured bird.
- How does our rehabilitation center avoid imprinting baby birds?
Birds do not know what they are when they hatch. They visually imprint on their parents shortly after they open their eyes. After imprinting, they will identify with that species for life. This means if a bird is around a human during that development period instead of its parents, it will become a “human imprint”, have no fear of people and no longer recognize its own species. Human imprints are non-releasable. Our rehabilitation center takes precautions to prevent orphaned or injured baby birds from imprinting on humans. This includes minimizing any human contact, wearing camouflage to disguise ourselves and placing baby birds with surrogate parents so that the babies can visually imprint on appropriate species.
General Auburn University Raptor Center Questions
- How many birds are at the Auburn University Raptor Center?
For a list of birds currently at our rehabilitation center, please refer to our “case updates” page. This page is updated once every 24 hours. Our education center has 24 enclosures where our non-releasable raptor ambassadors reside.
- Where do your education birds come from?
All of our raptor ambassadors are non-releasable due to some kind of permanent injury or condition that would make it impossible for them to survive if released. None of our birds were taken from the wild as healthy birds.
- What eagle flies at the game?
There have been five eagles to fly in Jordan-Hare Stadium as part of the pre-game tradition. Those eagles are Tiger – War Eagle VI, Spirit, Nova – War Eagle VII, Aurea – War Eagle VIII, and Independence. For more information on the eagle flight, please see our education page.
- What do you feed your raptors?
Our rehabilitation patients and resident raptors are provided a diverse whole diet, including mice, rats, chicks and quail. Species such as Bald Eagles and Osprey are also provided fish. Our food is purchased from a specialty vendor and sent to us pre-packaged and frozen.