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Live raptors part of presentation at Meade County Fair


F.Ganje - July 23, 2019

STURGIS, SD – Among the sights available to us here in South Dakota, is the soaring flight of raptors across the landscape.  Who hasn’t caught their breath over the site of a ‘hawk on the wing?’ Imagine how beautiful they must be up close? During the Meade County Fair this weekend in Sturgis, fair goers will get their chance during a program by the Black Hills Raptor Center, says John Halverson, a co-founder of the center and researcher.

Despite the fact that we are rural state, there are still quite a number of people who don’t connect with the outdoors,” says Halverson.  “Our job is to inspire people with something that is charismatic and fascinating and that leads them to get outdoors to learn more about the beautiful state we live in.”

Set for Saturday, July 27 at 10:30am at Sturgis Brown High School, the presentation will include three of five different raptors found in South Dakota. According to Halverson, rescue raptors all have suffered an injury that makes it impossible for them to survive in the wild.  

“All birds we have under federal permits aren’t capable of surviving on their own.  These birds have some type of damage that is irreversible.” He continues, “Rather than euthanizing them, we give them their next best life of being an educational tool while being well cared for.”

Each of the birds have their own personality. Halverson says they enjoy observing spectators as much as the crowds enjoy seeing them up close.  “They love observing as much as the public loves it,” he says.  “We talk about the individual birds and why they’re with us.” 

While more than half of the raptors brought to the center have been injured by man-made causes, Halverson says that progressive companies and others do what they can to mitigate that. “They get hung up in fences, hit by cars and a large number are electrocuted on power lines,” shares Halverson. “Here in South Dakota, companies are working to retrofit areas where these birds roost, building platforms away from power structures and moving nests to those locations.”         

Another co-founder of the center and current Board President, Maggie Engler will make the presentation at the Meade County Fair on Saturday that is free to the public. Engler is a professional environmental educator and interpreter with 35 years of experience in the field. 

“We talk about the birds places in the environment and what purpose they serve out there,” says Halverson.  “We like to get into the audience with the birds, where you can often get a close up photograph.  And we stick around after the program as well for more photo opportunities.

To find out more go on line to  Black Hills Raptor Center   See more on Facebook    

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