Right up the road, about 15 minutes from where we live is an avian conservation center called The Center for Birds of Prey. For over two years now we’ve been meaning to visit it and watch the flight demonstrations that they perform every week. When we heard that they are having their annual fundraiser/auction (Birds and Brunch at the Bennett) at the Hotel Bennett coming up on October 27th, we wanted to help out in a small way by donating several giclée prints of my Snowy Egret paintings.
The money raised will go toward the rehabilitation of injured birds as well as conservation and educational programs. After getting a guided tour yesterday by Daniel Prohaska, the Director of Development, we feel even better about our donation. Everyone we met had a high level of professionalism.
We were greeted by Abby (a recent graduate of the College of Charleston in Biology) at the visitors building. Daniel (Master’s degree in Philanthropy and Development) introduced himself, and gave us a guided tour, enlightening us with fascinating facts about each species of bird, educating us about their care, their special needs, and their environment.
Daniel’s depth of knowledge was so impressive. He started volunteering at the Center as a teenager, donating some of his allowance to the Center, and soaking up all of the knowledge he could. Now, (since 2016) he finds himself Director of Development!
Our tour included walking past a large aviary with a great variety of owls. Each owl had spectacular markings. Of course, Daniel was familiar with each and every one of them.
Eagles, falcons, kites, storks, vultures, and other birds of prey were also part of the tour.
One of the fascinating parts of the tour was a number of flight demonstrations. We sat at the outdoor amphitheater type setting and I was encouraged to photograph the birds in flight, while Natalie Hendrickson (degree in Wildlife Management/educator for the Center) spoke fluently to us onlookers about each bird. Again, very educational!
First to fly for us was a beautiful Barn Owl. Stephen Schabel (Director of Education at the Center, with an M.S. degree in Environmental Policy) was handling the owl skillfully, allowing it to fly off into the trees, then calling it back to land on his hand or on a nearby perch. He oversees the care, husbandry and training of the Center’s educational resident bird collection. He also designs and implements conservation educational programs at the Center and throughout South Carolina and beyond.
We also watched and I photographed a spirited Crested Caracara and a Yellow-billed Kite!
Here are a few pics from our outing!
We left the Center for Birds of Prey gratified by all that they do, and impressed by how organized and well run an operation it is. They are always looking for donations and volunteers with similar passions to help out their wonderful staff.
Thank you Daniel for being so generous with your time. We applaud all that the Center for Birds of Prey is doing to help our fine-feathered friends!
Here is a link to their website, www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org.