Recently I enjoyed checking out one of Duncan’s tourist attractions, the Pacific Northwest Raptors Centre. It was my first visit, although it’s been on my list of Cowichan Valley attractions to check out for several years. A number of guests at our Cobble Hill Bed & Breakfast have been to the centre and have enjoyed their visit, so I have been able to recommend it to our guests.
It was a perfect day to take a few hours off and I timed my arrival for the 1:30 pm flying demonstrations. This is a must as this is the highlight of a visit to PNWR. This afternoon’s demonstration started with Hera the immature bald eagle. What an impressive bird up close! Then we saw a Harris hawk, a barn owl, a turkey vulture (which is not a raptor) and finally a one-year old peregrine falcon. It was wonderful to see these magnificent birds up close and learn more about them and see the different ways they fly. I learned quite a bit, including “what is a raptor”!
Pacific Northwest Raptors is primarily an educational center. The birds are captive bred and trained to raise awareness and to give the public an opportunity to see them up close and learn more about them, and feel inspired about saving them and their habitat. In the past PNWR has also been involved in rehabilitating injured wild birds but they very unfortunately recently lost their license to do so While some of the birds are in cages, they fly free every day and are also taken out to give the visitors a closer look as well as the opportunity to ask questions. The staff at the center is very friendly and helpful and they obviously love what they do.
You can now also see some of the PNWR birds at the Church & State winery, near the Butchart Gardens in Victoria. Pacific Northwest Raptors has also collaborated with the Vancouver Aquarium this summer for “Birds Up Close” and you can see eagles, hawks, falcons and other birds trained at PNWR at the aquarium until September 5th.
As our Cowichan Valley accommodation is located on a forested acreage, we often see barred owls around our property, so I was very interested to learn more about them and other raptors. They too are magnificent birds and a clearer understanding of them is important in helping them to survive and flourish so we can continue to enjoy them in their natural environment. While my preference is always for all wild creatures to be wild and free, I think Pacific Northwest Raptors is an important link in creating a greater understanding of these birds. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, with flying demonstrations at 1:30 and 3:30. It is really worth a visit.