Live raptors to be presented on campus


Jeff Maki

When raptors, or birds of prey, take flight on a hunt, their powerful wings keep them aloft on the winds. They are majestic beasts, capturing the imagination and wonder of many who admire the birds’ beauty. Some of these birds are coming to campus this Friday. Care to see them?

The NMU Fisheries and Wildlife Association, in cooperation with Chocolay Raptor Center and Northwoods Wildlife Center, will host the public event “Birds of Prey: Live Predatory Bird Presentation” in Jamrich from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6.

Danielle Dershem, a senior biology major and vice-president of the NMU Fisheries and Wildlife Association, said she is excited for people to see these birds.

“Birds are interesting creatures,” Dershem said. “We see them every day in our backyard, but take them for granted.”
Dershem’s study at Northern focuses on smaller, everyday wild birds, instead of the hunters that are going to be shown Friday. She started working with birds specifically in 2015, working on a project involving chickadees.

There’s no cost to attend the event, and everyone from students to community members are invited. With permission and instruction from their handlers, photos are allowed, but touching or petting the birds is off limits.

“They are still wild animals,” Dersham said. “And they have great, big talons.”

While ultimately, the birds being shown are not domesticated, they are educated, being a select group trained to go to public gatherings so they won’t be afraid of the large number of people, Dershem said.

In previous years, birds shown have included red-tailed hawks, great-horned owls and kestrels.

Chocolay Raptor Center in Marquette is a nonprofit rehab facility for sick and injured birds of prey. They nurse and care for the birds until they are fit to return to the wild, and during their stay the birds are used in turn to educate the public. The center can be reached at (906) 249-3598.

Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua, Wisconsin brings in most any animal in need, admitting 600 to 700 sick or injured creatures annually, according to their website. Also a nonprofit, Northwoods can be reached at (715) 356-7400 for anybody who finds a wild animal in need of help.