30 years of raptor care being celebrated at Mountsberg in Milton

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Published May 13, 2024 at 10:31 am

30 anniversary mountsberg milton raptor centre

Despite plenty of changes over the years, the Mountsberg Raptor Centre in Milton will celebrate its 30th anniversary in a couple of weeks.

When the Raptor Centre officially opened in June 1994, as both an education centre and a bird of prey rehabilitation hospital, it featured educational displays and a theatre where public and school programs were hosted.

The theatre had a one-way viewing window that allowed guests to see into the raptor hospital and follow the birds’ rehabilitation journey.

Birds that had been injured and were deemed non-releasable were housed in enclosures along a trail for guests to view.

However, amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act in 2000 changed the laws surrounding the keeping of wildlife in captivity and the regulations surrounding rehabilitation. It was at this time that the raptor hospital closed, and the Raptor Centre transitioned to being a dedicated educational facility.

“The raptors in our care are truly remarkable to meet up-close,” said Craig Machan, director, Parks & Operations at Conservation Halton. “Just as remarkable is our animal care team that looks after the birds’ training and daily well-being.

“Through this team’s expertise and dedicated care, our raptors can live long, fulfilling lives while engaging and inspiring the thousands of individuals who pass through the Raptor Centre’s doors.”

Over the years, the Raptor Centre has grown and changed as more was learned about how to provide the best quality of life for birds of prey in human care. Where once the centre only housed permanently injured birds, it now houses a mixture of both non-releasable birds and birds that were raised in human care.

“The No. 1 priority of the centre is to provide the highest level of welfare possible for every bird that comes to call the centre home,” said a spokesperson.

“The centre now houses 35 birds from 21 different species. Many of the birds at the centre interact with the public through educational programs, from curriculum-based school programs to small group immersive experiences.”

Initially, the Raptor Centre was made possible by a donation from Marguerite Gray, a descendant of the Cameron family who once owned the Mountsberg Conservation Area property.

Upon opening, the centre was named the Douglas G. Cockburn Centre for Birds of Prey, in honour of Gray’s brother. Today, the Conservation Halton Foundation helps support the Raptor Centre with donations made through the Adopt-a-Raptor program.

“By symbolically adopting one of our featured raptors, the community can help to provide birds with a wholesome diet, veterinary care, training, enrichment, and more.”

The anniversary celebration is being held Saturday, June 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Park visitors can enjoy a slice of cake with the Animal Care team, meet roving birds of prey, say hello to the resident raptors, take a photo at the Birds of All Feathers photo station, check out the bio-artifact display, and pre-register to participate in the Talons and Tailfeathers educational program.

For more information, visit the Conservation Halton events page.

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