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The U of M Raptor Center Presents "Birds of Prey"

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The University of Minnesota Alumni Association brings some fine feathered guests to St. Peter today.
These students have studied about birds of prey in the classroom but today was a chance to get up close with the raptors that once lived in the wild.

Colin Chabot says, "Seeing it in person really put things into perspective."

Nick Marmow, "I know a lot of raptors, but I want to know more."

The Raptor Center rehabilitates more than 700 sick and injured raptors each year. This bald eagle hit a power line and suffered from lead poising.

Mike Billington says, "Bald eagles are scavengers so in the winter time they're looking for food and during hunting season and 140,000 deer harvested last year so that's a lot of led put into the environment and a food source for eagles."

In 2012, 117 sick or injured bald eagles came to the raptor center and 44 of them were suffering from lead poising.

Colin Chabot says, "Going to things like this is important for people to know because there are dangers that these birds are facing that most people don't realize."

The presentation included a Bald Eagle, Red Tail Hawk, Grey Horned Owl, and a Peregrine Falcon, which can travel as fast as Danica Patrick when it's diving for its prey.

Billington says, "When she dives she reaches speeds of 180 or 200 mph. And she can keep that song bird in her sight that's a half a mile away."

Not only are these raptors incredibly fast but some have the best long-rang vision. Scientist believe raptors vision is eight times better than humans.

What we can see at 20 feet they can see at 160 feet. And owls can hear sounds 10 times fainter than what humans can detect.

"These birds can be perched in a branch 20 or 40 feet high and hear a mouse under a foot of snow."

Every year, The Raptor Center reaches more than 200,000 people through its unique public education programs and events.

A great way these students to get as close to the raptors they never thought possible.