Gary Larson’s genius comic strip The Far Side nailed it with one illustration captioned “Birds of Prey know they’re cool!” When you see a raptor (Sacramento Valley rice fields support 14 different raptor species) it’s easy to see why they’re not only at the top of the food chain, but for my vote their strength and über confidence elevate them to James Bond status in the avian world.
The California Raptor Center at UC Davis is doing great things with these magnificent birds. Since 1973, they have rehabilitated and released thousands of raptors back to the wild. They also educate thousands each year about the valuable role raptors play.
“They’re a nice sentinel species for the health of an environment,” according to Operations Manager Bret Stedman, who has worked at the Center for more than 30 years. “The more biodiversity we have, the healthier the ecosystem is and, you might even argue, the better the quality of life there is. If the environment isn’t going to support top-level predators, then it’s not going to be an environment that we’re going to thrive in either.”
The Raptor Center relies almost solely on public donations to continue their excellent work. You have a great opportunity to visit them on October 17 for their fall open house. It’s a great family outing and a wonderful effort to support.