Take Flight 

It's not that often that you see falcon ride a thermal above Marion Square and dive toward the ground at 150 miles per hour (and no, we're not exaggerating). If that was a regular occurrence — and quite frankly, we're not even sure if there's ever been a single instance of that happening — we seriously doubt you'd see that many bikini-wearing sunbathers and their tiny dogs lounging about. The falcon is a bird of prey, after all.

However, for three days, the Center for Birds of Prey will host a Birds of Prey demo. And there will be more than just hawks flying around. "We will be showing an assortment of owls, falcons, hawks, vultures, and eagles," says Stephen Schabel, director of education at the center. "These animals are magnificent to watch, and this is a great opportunity to interact with them up close." During the demonstrations, the birds will be exhibiting their natural flight behaviors such as diving and catching food out of mid-air. (One again, you've been warned. Keep that accessory chihuahua in your pocketbook.)

In addition to the live demonstrations, visitors will be offered a chance to learn more about birds of prey, thanks to a tent where they'll be able to examine bird skulls, talons, and feathers. They'll also get a chance to dissect various bird eggs.

Schabel says, "These animals are intimidating predators, but they are also important environmental health indicators." Most visitors will not be able to touch the live birds, but she says they will allow a few volunteers to interact with the raptors.

On Saturday morning at the Francis Marion Hotel, the Center for Birds of Prey hosts a buffet-style brunch. Jim Elliot, executive director at the center, will speak and showcase a few of the impressive animals. The buffet will include shrimp and grits, various pastries, fruit, and frittata. Drinks will include bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys.

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2011 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

  • ACE of Basin

    When you're at SEWE this weekend, make sure that you catch an exclusive screening of Common Ground: The Story of the ACE Basin by documentarian Bill Bailey. The film tells the story of how various individuals and organizations helped protect the ACE river basin, which stretches from Charleston to Beaufort, S.C. ACE is an acronym that stands for the defining rivers of the St. Helena Sound: the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto. "These rivers were protected under a heroic conservation effort," Bailey says.
  • Dana Beach flocks to East Africa to photograph flamingos

    Birds of a Feather
  • Wildlife of the Party

    Watching a bald eagle snatch a defenseless bunny with its talons on the boob tube can't compare to watching a bird of prey up close and personal. At least that's what David Hitzig, executive director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, believes.
  • Get in the pit with barbecue badass Jimmy Hagood

    'Cue Captain
  • The Ultimate SEWE Guide

    Let's do it like they do it on the Discovery channel
  • Jim and Jamie Dutcher ran with the wolves

    Don't Be Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
  • It's Ducks Unlimited Season

    If you didn't make it to the Lowcountry Oyster Festival a few weeks back, have no fear. On Feb. 18, you'll have another chance to get your oyster fix at SEWE's Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast. All-you-can-eat oysters will be the star of the event, but if you're not a mollusk lover, there will also be a down-home Lowcountry cookout from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring pulled-pork barbecue, shrimp and grits, venison chili, and Southern fried catfish.
  • Lords of Nature studies the impact of predators on their habitats

    Predator
  • Game On

    For the second year in a row at SEWE, local chefs will show attendees how to cook with game, as well as Certified South Carolina Grown products. Jimmy Huggins, SEWE president and CEO, thinks the demonstrations will be popular again this year. "We like to offer a variety of interesting things for our guests. Showing off some of the Lowcountry's great chefs preparing food with delicious South Carolina products seemed like a great idea," he says.
  • Give It Up for the Pups

    I don't know about you but for months I've had that one peppy, smile-inducing song, "Dog Days are Over," permanently on repeat in my head. Florence and the Machine's rock/pop hit is catchy and energizing, but its title is completely off the mark — at least in Charleston. Here, the dog days are just beginning.

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