Bird Is the Word 

The S.C. Center for Birds of Prey descends on SEWE

Birds of Prey Demonstrations
Fri. Feb. 15, Sat. Feb. 16
11:30 a.m., 4 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 17
11:30 a.m., 3 p.m.
Price included with general admission
Marion Square
Corner of Calhoun and King streets

In real life, birds and humans do not have many dynamic interactions (excluding the occasional avian waste "misplacement"). This suggests that birds and humans exist and subsist in primarily separate spheres (think Ibsen's A Doll's House, nature-style). Au contraire. According to Stephen Schabel, director of education at the South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey, "Humans and birds are very connected. Humans need birds for our health and the health of our environment."

The Center for Birds of Prey, located just up the road in Awendaw, is one of the only centers in the country which simultaneously rehabilitates birds, conducts research, educates the public, and provides oil-spill response facilities for birds of prey (also known as raptors).

One way the Center seeks to spread the bird love (and not the bird flu) is through the Birds of Prey demonstrations they host during the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, which have become a staple of the expo over the last three years.

The demos, Schabel says, "give folks an opportunity to see things up close that they wouldn't normally see." We're talking high-speed falcon dives, low-flying eagles, and exotic African and Southeast Asian birds, while at the same time offering simple suggestions about how we can help our fine feathered friends.

Schabel and his permanent staff of nine treat over 400 raptors a year out in Awendaw. Most of the injuries suffered by these flying fowl are the result of negative interactions with humans.

Attending a Bird of Prey demonstration this weekend would be one way to positively interact with birds, and it may even help improve our rep within their (flying) social circles. Say goodbye to that target on your head.

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