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Fall Raptor Release showcases avian predators

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Thousands of people swooped in on Carpenter Nature Center Saturday, Sept. 26, for one of the nonprofit’s most popular events.

The Fall Raptor Release is a unique educational opportunity. Teaming up with the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, the nature center is able to bring in several birds of prey, or raptors. Many were just on display, with staff and volunteers from the Raptor Center to explain all about them. Raptors aren’t easy to see up close in the wild, but late last month, educational birds settled in on perches just a few feet away from their admirers.

There were other informational tables, as well, provided by Minnesota Master Naturalists. Some went beyond birds and taught visitors about things like butterflies, reptiles and land stewardship, in honor of National Public Lands Day, which was also Sept. 26. 3M also gave science demonstrations.

The highlight of the day was the release of a few rehabilitated raptors back into the wild. The Raptor Center takes in injured birds and helps them safely recover until they’re healthy and strong enough to go back to the wild. In the morning, three birds were released. Dan Fluegel of Fluegel Law Firm in Hastings released a broad-winged hawk. Dawn Krueger released a Cooper’s hawk. Bruce Dayton released a bald eagle. In the afternoon release, Kathy Luce of Richard Design Services Inc., released a broad-winged hawk. Amy Solberg released a red-tailed hawk. Jeff Payne of 3M released a bald eagle.