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Monday, 10 September 2018 05:12

Coaldale’s Birds of Prey still flying

Written by  Heather Cameron
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Coaldale has a special place which helps birds get their wings back.

The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre is located in the northwest section of Coaldale.
Open from May 16 to Labor Day Monday, the Birds of Prey Centre is a wildlife rescue center that offers environmental learning and bit of habitat enhancement.
According to Colin Weir, the Managing Director of the Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation, there are about 60 or 70 birds currently on display at the center and they are hawks, falcons, eagles, and owls.
“Visitors can hold birds, take photographs, a few species of owls,” Weir said. “We have a trail where they can walk around and see birds in the aviary. We have a flock of ducks and people can buy food to feed them. We also do flying demonstrations every 90 minutes with the birds.”
The centre, Weir says, has been open to the public since 1991, but the Foundation has been doing volunteer bird rescue in Alberta since 1983. Weir speculates that the centre has rescued approximately a couple thousand since starting the rescue. There is about 15 staff during the summer, Weir says, and another dozen volunteers who help with various tasks.
“The whole experience is a little more like a behind-the-scenes tour of working in conservation center,” Weir said.
In terms of rehabilitation, Weir said that some birds might require veterinary treatments; some are young babies and need help to grow; while some are in need of food shelter and a place to recuperate before being released back into the wild.
Weir says the difference between the Helen Schuler Nature Centre in Lethbridge and the Birds of Prey Centre is that the Nature Centre is government funded. The Birds of Prey Centre is fully funded by donations and admission, so the Birds of Prey Centre is very limited in its resources. 
Admission for 2018 was $12 for adults; $8 for seniors; and $6 for 10 and under.
“The centre depends on community support,” Weir said. “We always appreciate any donations. If people want to support us in the future, that's always appreciated and they can always contact us on our website about that. This is the only wildlife rescue center south of Calgary.”

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