Man has always shared a keen fascination with birds. Who has not looked up and possibly gasped in awe at the sight of a bird, flying freely overhead? Whether it’s a rare sighting of a bald eagle or a tiny chickadee, there is just something about birds that never fails to draw our curiosity and attention. Most of the time, we confine ourselves observing them effortlessly glide in the air from afar. Now, you can satiate your curiosity and interact with these magnificent airborne creatures up close at the Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre.
Flying Demonstrations and Tours
Situated north of Duncan on Vancouver Island about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Victoria, the centre houses birds of prey and raptors of all kinds, which are all skilled and known to interact quite comfortably with people. Since these birds are not confined in cages, you can enjoy an unhampered view of the birds. So if you do plan to visit, make sure to bring along your camera to capture this rare opportunity.
Trips to Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre have enjoyed growing popularity especially among kids. Educational tours and family holiday packages have been organized to provide kids a chance to experience and learn from rare close encounters with these exotic birds. In fact, the Pacific Northwest Raptors was given the Tourism Vancouver Island “Raising the Bar” award back in 2009. This is in recognition of the highly innovative educational programs.
They have also conducted a number of well-attended flying demonstrations with fascinating breeds like the Bald Eagles. All staff are proficient and experienced in handling these birds as well as in employing every imaginable safety precaution. If you have kids in tow raring for an adventure weekend trip, this is the perfect destination for families and large groups.
Meet and Greet the Birds
As you step onto the facility, you may feel like you have been transported back into another century. You will be fascinated to know that most of these birds have quite a personality of their own; And why not? They are practically celebrities in their own right. A number of the birds were actually named after the characters in the movie Lord of the Rings.
One of the striking personas that is hard to miss is Galadriel, a magnificent looking ferruginous hawk. She often gazes at you, looking every bit the regal queen. Alongside her is Gimli and Striker, a pair of very active Harris hawks. There are also a number of smaller birds, such as Pippin, the Lanner falcon – known to be the noisiest member of the flock.
Take a Crash Course on Falconry
The centre is open and flies birds six days a week, starting from April all through October. If you are the adventurous type who is simply not content with only watching, you can also take a half-day falconry course.
In the course, you will have a chance to meet the birds as well as learn and experience for yourself the 4,000 year old sport of falconry. After a few rounds of practice, you will have the chance to transfer a bird from its perch to your gauntleted hand. You will also get to see up close how they nail their prey “lures” with unerring precision. It’s definitely a rare opportunity you want to experience for yourself.
Birds of Prey and Raptors
You can view as well as take photos of the following centre-bred raptors and birds:
Open daily, except on Wednesdays
11:00 AM to 4:30 PM
From Mid-April to Mid-October
General Admission Fees
Children 3-12: $ 6
Children under 4: Free
Seniors (over 65): $10
Youth 13-17: $ 10
Family(2 adults, 2 children): $34
Seasons Pass (Family): $65
Seaons Pass (Adult): $30
Seasons Pass (Child): $20
Address: Pacific Northwest Raptors Ltd
1877 Herd Road
- From Duncan, take the Trans Canada Highway. Approximately 4 kilometres (2.48 miles) north, turn right on Herd Road and drive past Lakes.
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