What Does a Hawk or Eagle Want from Santa? Check Out the Â??giving Tree’ During Raptor Center Holiday Open House

How does a raptor get his holiday gift wish to the attention of Santa Claus? With the help of the staff at Colorado State’s Rocky Mountain Raptor Center and the "Giving Tree" they have set up for the annual Holiday Open House.

The open house, which runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Dec. 15, will also feature refreshments, tours, holiday gift items for sale and information on the center’s work to rehabilitate and protect injured birds of prey. The Center is located directly behind the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at 300 West Drake Road in Fort Collins.

Many of nature’s most spectacular birds will be on display, including a screech owl, an American kestrel, a great horned owl and a peregrine falcon. Visitors can talk to volunteers and staff and learn about the birds and their habitat, construction projects, public outreach exhibits, environmental education presentations and the center’s volunteer program.

Visitors will also have the opportunity this year to play Santa Claus and grant any of the bird’s holiday wishes that have been placed on the "Giving Tree." For example, the golden owl may really want a scrub brush to clean his perch, or the peregrine falcon may want a new water bowl.

"Most people want an opportunity to get a little more personally involved with the birds and this is a great way to do that," said Judy Scherpelz, director of the Rocky Mountain Raptor program.

The Raptor Gift Shop will offer several holiday gift items for purchase including special holiday cards featuring color photo portraits of the Raptor program’s ambassador birds, hand-crafted jewelry, unique holiday ornaments and educational materials suitable for people of all ages.

The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program began in 1979 as an effort by Colorado State veterinary students to treat injured birds of prey. Today, the RMRP is an organization that links community and university efforts dedicated to providing medical care and rehabilitation to injured birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. For more information about the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program and the open house, call (970) 491-0398.