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Raptor Fest showcases Montana's birds of prey

By Jess Antonio, KTVM Sports Director, jantonio@ktvm.com
Published On: Oct 07 2012 07:02:53 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Raptors, or birds of prey, are prominent in Montana. Falcons, eagles, owls and many others call the state home. And on Sunday at the 16th annual Bridger Raptor Festival, the Bozeman community got the chance learn more about the birds.

"Raptors are very intriguing for everybody, people of all ages. I think everyone has a fascination with raptors, and just saying the word. And they're somewhat elusive creatures, you don't get to see a raptor just sitting out the window and eating in a bird feeder like you do with maybe a robin," said Bridger Bowl Marketing Director Doug Wales.

Booths with information about the raptor numbers in the state, fun activities for kids, and live presentations with the birds highlighted a weekend where almost 5,000 people turned out.

"I'm a huge fan about birds and I knew that you could look at live birds so I just wanted to look out there and learn more about birds," said Robert Wolf, an 11-year-old with his face painted like peregrine falcon.

The raptor festival gives people an up close and personal opportunity to learn more about the birds that live and migrate through their backyard.

"A lot of awareness about what's happening here, this major migratory route that we have going across the Bridgers which is very significant part of the whole raptor flyways here in the United States," Wales said.

"There's tons of things that I learned. I never knew that owls don't make any noise when they fly," said Wolf.

Wales says raptor migration peaks in the middle of October, so people have the chance to make their way to Bridger Bowl to witness one of the largest migratory routes for golden eagles in North America.