What’s it Like to Take Care of Raptors?

06 July 2021

Pretty much any time we take one of our Raptor Ambassadors out to a program, we hear someone exclaim “I want a pet owl!” Besides the legal requirements to keep raptors in your care, we’re always quick to point out that it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to keep birds of prey happy and healthy. 

That’s why this month we’re talking all about our Raptor Ambassadors—why we have them, what it takes to have them, and how they inspire 40,000 students, teachers, and members of the community each year. 

Below, we’re sharing just a few of the specialized supplies we use to care for each of our eight Raptor Ambassadors. You can also shop any of the supplies below via our Amazon Wishlist or you can shop your favorite local store and then ship them to our birds at 2240 S 900 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106.

Housing

  1. General Household Hand Tool Kit
    Raptors live in specialized structures called mews. Unfortunately, they’re so special that they have to be custom-built and modified. That means we go through a lot of tools! Most of the tools we are using now are hand-me-downs that need to be replaced.
  2. Shade Cloth
    Where we’re based in Utah, we can see a lot of that heat in the summer. That means the Raptor Ambassadors’ mews can get hot! We use this shade cloth to keep them happy in their homes.
  3. Circular Saw
    Inside each mew, we give each bird perches and enrichment structures that we often have to make by hand. You can help us build these structures and do simple repairs with this saw. 

Health & Safety

  1. Kennelsol Disinfectant Cleaner 
    Caring for raptors is messy business! This cleaner allows us to safely disinfect the areas our birds use. 
  2. Spray Bottles 
    Did you know that birds don’t sweat? Spray bottles like these are used to lightly mist and cool our Raptor Ambassadors on hot days. 
  3. Instant Cold Packs 
    These instant cold packs can literally save a bird’s life if they become overheated in the Utah sun.

Feeding & Enrichment

  1. Chef’s Knife 
    Did you know that the federal government requires that we feed our birds non-living food? That means lots of slicing and dicing to prepare their diets. A sharp knife is essential.
  2. Interactive Toy Puzzle Just like humans, some birds require more care than others. Goose, our Peregrine Falcon, needs to stay busy for her physical and mental wellbeing. This toy will do just that, providing a way to enhance her natural behaviors.
  3. X-acto Knife 
    Since our birds can't live in the wild, getting out into the community is a vital part of their enrichment. These blades help us make the special anklets and jesses that allow us to take them out. 

Want to learn more about caring for our Raptor Ambassadors? Check out this video we filmed in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Utah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IPRx51I_M0. 

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