The event was presented by the 3M Foundation, and co-hosted by Carpenter Nature Center and The Raptor Center.We estimated that over 2,000 people attended this year’s event. Our record was over 3,000 people in 2009.
Visitors to this event enjoyed watching 6-8 rehabilitated birds of prey get returned to the wild after they completed their treatment at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota for injuries sustained in the wild. There are also kids crafts, caramel apples, hay wagon rides and lots of naturalists and volunteers teaching visitors about live educational ambassadors, such as Samantha the light colored Great Horned Owl pictured to the right.
Each year the number and species of birds to be released is a well guarded secret, and this year was no exception. In fact not even the executive director of The Raptor Center knew that the 8th bird was coming until right before the release program started! The reasoning behind the secrecy is that there is always a tiny chance that a bird has a set back and is not releaseable on the morning of the event. This year the Nature Center was fortunate to have three of our friends release birds at the event. Bob Setzer, a long time board member and now an honorary board member released a hawk in the morning.
The surprise 8th bird of the day went to one of Carpenter Nature Center’s newest board members, Vickie Batroot of 3M Cottage Grove. This Broad-winged Hawk was ready to catch up with the rest of its species who are all on their way to South America to spend the winter.
Thank you everyone who attended the event and the many volunteers and donors who made the event possible including Tinucci’s Restaurant, the Hastings Lions Club and Bailey Nursery.