Raptor Training Takes Patience… and Lots of Food

Trainers at Carolina Raptor Center spend months getting birds show-ready.

Natalie Childers Beck, the Curator of Birds and Programs at Carolina Raptor Center, says she doesn’t like to define what their birds do as ‘tricks.’

Nevertheless, if you go to the Carolina Raptor Center’s flight show, you’ll see birds soaring here, there and even through your arms – if you volunteer.

And the biggest motivation behind the birds? Food, of course. Every time one of the raptors performs an action correctly, they’re rewarded with food. The practice is called Positive Reinforcement, so the birds learn to do based on rewards rather than punishment. Training can take months, but Natalie says the process is a little easier depending on how young the bird is. The younger the bird, the less afraid it’s likely to be of people.

You can catch them in action at the Talons Summer Flight shows starting Memorial Day weekend! (And the price will be included in your admission this year, because #grants.)

Learn more about the center at their website here.