Birds of Prey on Vancouver Island

Did you know there is a bird of prey conservation center in Duncan, British Columbia? We were driving from Nanaimo to Victoria on our last trip to Vancouver Island when my daughter and I spotted The Raptors sign. We both looked at each other and made a snap decision to visit the center a couple of kilometers off the TransCanada highway. She looked up their website and found out there was a live show with the raptors in 15 minutes. We had a plan.

We arrived, paid for the “Closest” experience, and raced to get a seat for the flying demonstration. I’m glad we rushed, it was worth it. The presentation showcased one bird of prey at a time with a total of 5 birds presented throughout the show. The handler told us all about each bird and answered questions while having the bird fly over the audience multiple times. We were definitely up close and personal with the birds. 

After the show, we met with one of the handlers for the Closest experience. Our family of four (just us) spent an hour with her and the various birds she brought out for us to hold. The birds were beautiful! We each got to hold 3 or 4 birds and take all the photos we wanted.

The last part of the experience was the Hawk Walk when we walked on a path through the woods, and a Harris’ Hawk would fly to the person holding the food. This hawk was so fast. Almost before I put up my arm, the hawk was there! We tried to trick him, and it didn’t work. We all loved that part.

Both of my daughters now want to be falconers!

The Raptors is a worthwhile stop on the way from Nanaimo to Victoria. When we visit my parents in Victoria next year, we will most likely go back for more close encounters with these raptors.

What are your favorite places for close encounters with animals?

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