Parks and Recreation to host avian expert for ‘Raptors’ program


The bald eagle is one of many birds that will be featured at the Smith Recreation Center during the presentation of “Raptors — Myths and Legends” on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Submitted photo.

Mankind sees bald eagles, owls and hawks as majestic, but mysterious, creatures. Swooping down from the skies often to devour their dinner, many humans never get close enough to study the remarkable birds of prey. Tecumseh’s Parks and Recreation Department will offer an opportunity to observe these creatures up close during a “Raptors — Myths and Legends” presentation, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on December 2 at the Smith Recreation Center. The Michigan Aviation Experience will bring live birds to the center, while Sarah Gilmore will lead the presentation.

“I am a trained naturalist and interpreter, so this is a topic near and dear to my heart,” Gilmore said. “I started working with birds of prey five years ago and fell in love with it. These are non-releasable birds of prey, which have been injured in some way, and are educational animals now. We thought it’d be good to try out at Parks and Rec, so people can see these really great predators we have in our backyard in an intimate experience.”

Gilmore describes her entry into working with birds of prey as a happy accident, after gaining a degree in environmental education. The birds quickly became her passion. “I have worked at different nature centers that had birds of prey, and started working with screech owls and fell in love,” Gilmore said. “The birds of prey are fascinating because they’re slightly aloof. They’re the ultimate predator. They don’t need anything but opportunity, and it’s all about trust. It’s a phenomenal experience to have a wild animal trust you. They all have their own personality and are their own individuals.”

One of the eagles trained at Michigan Avian Experience free flies at Eastern Michigan University’s football games. Michigan Avian Experience centers on educating others about the myths and legends surrounding birds of prey, and teaching about the physical adaptations birds have on an up-close-and-personal level.

“We’re going to learn why some people think owls are bad omens, why the feathers of eagles are protected,” Gilmore said. “Some of the birds really enjoy going out and teaching. Our bald eagle is human-imprinted, and she sees humans as her own kind. Being around people, she stands up taller and is much more comfortable than any other bird. You watch behavior and some birds just decide they don’t want to teach, and you have to honor that.”

The best thing about working with birds of prey, Gilmore says, is the bond she forms with the animal. “The respect we show and give them, they give back to you, and that’s an amazingly powerful thing to have an eagle or hawk on your glove and know they don’t mind that they’re that close to you, they just want to know what’s going on,” Gilmore states. “It reaches beyond words in that feeling.”

Space for the program is limited, and registration is required. Interested attendees can register by visiting the center or by calling 423.5602.


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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