The Raptor Center is a department of the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine, on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus.
The Raptor Center rescues, treats and rehabilitates injured birds, with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Minnesota is home to a number of different species of raptors - bald eagles, American kestrels, four species of falcons, three species of hawks, and twelve species of owls. All of these birds, and birds from surrounding states, are treated at the Raptor Center.
The Raptor Center was founded in the early 1970s, and since then has been pioneering new treatments for raptors. The center is a world leader in innovation in raptor medicine and surgery, and trains veterinarians from around the world.
Birds who are too badly injured to be released are housed at the Raptor Center. Once recovered, these birds become "education raptors" and are the ambassadors of the Raptor Center's programs to educate the public about the threats facing raptors. Many raptor species are endangered, largely due to human activities.
There's ways everyone can help to protect raptors. Many injured raptors who come to the Raptor Center have been hit by cars. Raptors often forage for roadside trash thrown or dumped from cars, putting them in danger of being struck by passing vehicles.
The Raptor Center is open to visitors most days. During the week, the Raptor Center is open to the public on Tuesday through Friday. Tours are free, although donations, and/or purchases in the gift shop, are appreciated.
The best time to visit is at the weekend, when the "Raptors of Minnesota" program is presented. Guests can meet live raptors, tour the Raptor Center and outdoor raptor housing, and learn more about the work of the Raptor Center. The program is presented most Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1pm - 2 pm, and the cost is $5 per child or student, $7.50 per adult.
Another program at the Raptor Center, perfect for kids who are into wildlife, is hosting birthday parties - renamed "Hatchday Parties". Your child, and their friends, can hang out with a real raptor, do a raptor-themed craft, and will receive raptor-themed party favors.
The Raptor Center also presents lectures, and runs programs for children including a summer school. Fundraising events are held at locations around the Twin Cities.
One of the highlights of the Raptor Center's calendar are the annual spring and fall Raptor Releases. Rehabilitated raptors are returned to the wild, and the public is invited to come and admire these magnificent birds flying free. The spring Raptor release is usually in early May, the Fall raptor release is usually in late September. The Raptor Center's website has all the information on these events, and other happenings at the Raptor Center.