The Center for Birds of Prey
To identify and address vital environmental issues through avian medicine, educational, research and conservation initiatives.
The rapid and dramatic changes that man continuously imposes on the natural landscape have significant, long-term implications for irreplaceable habitat and wildlife. The Avian Conservation Center / The Center for Birds of Prey (“Center”) was originally founded to provide professional medical care to some of the thousands of birds of prey injured in South Carolina every year. The Center has admitted and treated more than 6,000 injured hawks, eagles, owls, falcons and other birds of prey since its inception in 1991.
In order to reflect the Center’s expanding scope of programs and services, the Avian Conservation Center was established in 2004 as an “umbrella” organization to accommodate distinctive educational, scientific and conservation organizations and initiatives. The first two of these initiatives are (1) The Center for Birds of Prey, and (2) the Avian Medical Center / Oiled Bird Treatment Facility.
Education and Research
Selected field and laboratory research projects provide the means for the Center – and others – to better understand the issues deserving focus and attention and to work proactively to protect species and habitat.
Best known for their symbolism, beauty and compelling nature, birds of prey serve as ideal ambassadors for numerous conservation issues that confront us today.
The majority of birds admitted for medical treatment present with traumatic injuries resulting from some human interaction, primarily automobile collisions, entanglement, shooting and trapping. The accumulated data gathered from these injured birds clearly support the need for and value of an educational component emphasizing the importance of healthy raptor populations in the natural ecosystem.
On- and off-site educational programs give students of all ages the opportunity to relate to important conservation issues in the context of their own lives. Each presentation is made compelling through the participation of live birds.
Research and Field Studies
The Center conducts research and field studies related to the conservation and protection of wild bird populations and their habitats. Examples include an annual coastal hawk migration survey, post-release radio telemetry, a long-term Swallow-tailed kite study, cooperative investigations concerning avian genetics, biomedicine and associated topics. The Center maintains research associations with universities and professional conservation organizations throughout the United States and abroad, including the Hawk Migration Association of North America, the Raptor Research Foundation and the Avian Research and Conservation Institute.
A portion of the Center’s 152-acre site is available to the visiting public for educational purposes. Visitors enjoy a natural setting in which to observe a variety of species of birds of prey on display and experience birds presented in flight over the Center’s two flying fields – a compelling and profound learning experience.