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Raptor expo soars into Franke Park

Written by: Communicator StaffMay 05, 2017

Written by: Zachary D. Elick

The fifth annual Raptor Expo, hosted by Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehab, will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 13 at Franke Park, 3411 Sherman Blvd.

The kid-friendly expo will feature face painting, crafts, pellet dissections, wings and feet labs, X-rays of bird injuries and, among other things, two bird of prey presentations.

“We’ve grown up a lot since the first (Raptor Expo). The first one was just a little experiment type thing. We just keep getting bigger and bigger each year, adding different things,” said Lisa Yates, rescue coordinator for Soarin’ Hawk.

Soarin’ Hawk is a nonprofit organization based in Allen County “dedicated to the rescue, recovery and release of injured and orphaned birds of prey,” according to its Facebook page.

The term “Raptors” describes species of birds, such as falcons, hawks, owls and turkey vultures, that are known for hunting and eating small animals. Yates said the two most prevalent raptors in the Fort Wayne area are red-tailed hawks and Cooper’s hawks.

A lot of the raptors helped by Soarin’ Hawk are ones that have been hit by cars, Yates said. People often find injured birds by the side of the road or in their driveways and then call them in to Soarin’ Hawk. Or they call their local law enforcement agency or the Indiana Department of Resources, who then gets in contact with Soarin’ Hawk.

Yates said she has been raising birds since she was about 6 years old. She and her husband started volunteering at Soarin’ Hawk in 2013 after being introduced to the organization through a presentation about owls they hosted at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve.