Black Hills Raptor Center educates people on birds

All weekend long, experts are sharing their experience with you in seminars at the KX Sport Show. One booth is quite a “hoot.”

There’s no dinosaurs here, but the Black Hills Raptor Center does have some of their relatives.

“Our permits through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allow us to use injured and non-releasable raptors for conservation education,” says John Halverson, Co-founder of Black Hills Raptor Center.

Halverson has held a fondness for birds ever since reading a natural history series back when he was nine years old.

“The ninth book in the series, page 72, upper left-hand corner there was a photograph of an American kestrel -a small falcon- and he’s looking back over his right shoulder. I was so thrilled over this,” says Halverson.
He swore that one day he would have one of his own. Almost 40 years later, he co-founded the Black Hills Raptor Center.

“And one of the founding four-feathers… (founding FOUR-feathers) was an American kestrel,” says Halverson.

Now he shares his passion with others, teaching about birds native to the Dakotas, like the red-tailed hawk.

“Its tail feathers are not red when it’s little, but when it grows up it’s brick red,” says Tatum Chase, young KX Sport Show attendee.

Or the eastern screech owl.

“That stayed in its little tree and is so small and he was sleeping the whole, entire time and he didn’t even fly,” says Annika Davidson, another young KX Sport Show attendee.

The audiences get a closer look at the birds that are usually only seen from far away.

“I’ve only seen them on TV or, like, in the air,” says Davidson.

And Halverson is living out his dream, working daily with birds like the American kestrel.

“I am shocked every morning that I wake up and I get to work with these birds,” says Halverson.

Although the dinosaurs are extinct, this nonprofit works to make sure that their relatives stick around for our descendants.

You can catch these birds at the Black Hills Raptor Center booth tomorrow at the All Seasons Arena.

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