Members of the Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center visited Straughn High School on Monday to give students an up-close look at birds of prey that are native to the area.
“All of the birds that we get have been injured or were raised illegally,” Marianne Hudson said. “We have vets that treat them and then we release them back into the wild.”
Some of the birds, for one reason or another, cannot be returned to the wild, and Hudson said those are the birds that they use for educational purposes.
“The birds that we have here today, they are ones that can’t fend for themselves in the wild,” Hudson said. “So these guys travel with us all over the country to different schools, scout troop and things like that to show the kids what they look like up close.”
Hudson and fellow Raptor Center member, Andrew Hopkins brought in seven different types of raptors for the students at Straughn to check out.
They started with the tiny screech owl and worked their way all the way up to the large golden eagle, known as “Nova” who flies around the stadium before Auburn football games.
Hudson and Hopkins told the students about the differences between the different raptors and what makes each one unique and special.
“We generally do around 300 of this programs each year,” Hudson said. “The kids always love seeing the live birds and they all get a kick out of hearing the barn owl hoot.”