HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) are offering fun and educational programs at Montana WILD over the holiday break and on Wednesday kids both young and old got to see some of Montana’s most impressive birds.
On December 26 a full room of families had the chance to see up close a great-horned owl, rough-legged hawk, peregrine falcon and a kestrel.
Montana WILD staff and volunteers gave informational talks about the raptors and the role they play in Montana.
The kids present at the lecture were able hold feathers and talons from some types of raptors.
Staff believe opportunities like the Live Raptor Program help bridge the gap between education programs and Montana’s wild animals for the visitors to the education center.
“We try to really get them connected to the outdoors and try to get them to learn as much as they can about our state’s fish and wildlife,” said FWP Education Program Manager Laurie Wolf.
Each raptor that was shown is an ambassador bird for FWP that is unable to be released back into the wild due to injury.
“They’re very important to the programs we do here because it also gives kids an opportunity to see these birds up close which is often very difficult out in the wild,” said Wolf, “When you see a raptor in the wild it’s usually not up close and here people get to see those characteristics up close.”
Each ambassador bird needs to be fed and exercised daily and their their cages need to be cleaned.
Most of that work is done by volunteers who say they’re happy to take care of the animals and see such remarkable birds in the process.
“These animals are amazing and it’s great to show them to kids and adults alike and share my passion for them,” said volunteer Kierra Davis.
On Thursday December 27 Montana WILD will be holding a Mountain Man Program at 2 p.m. where kids can learn about historical tools, furs and stories.
On Friday December 28 at 2 p.m. they’ll be offering a program on Glacier’s Wildlife in Winter lead by a long-time Glacier National Park interpretive ranger.