Alberta Birds of Prey Center to open with caution amid bird flu – Lethbridge

Each spring, from mid to late May, the Alberta Birds of Prey Center in Coaldale opens its doors to the public.

The facility serves as a working conservation center that helps injured and orphaned birds return to the wild.

Visitors can interact with trained owls, view flight demonstrations, and observe a variety of native bird species in display aviaries.

According to Colin Weir, the organization’s chief executive, some biosecurity measures are in place to protect animals this year as it prepares to open on Saturday.

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“The only thing that will be significantly different – a bit disappointing for the kids – is that we’re not going to have our flock of pet ducks for the kids to feed,” he explained.

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“It’s just being overly cautious because of the avian flu that was discovered in southern Alberta,” Weir said.

Normally there are 50 to 100 ducks on site. They are currently kept at an area away from the center.

Another change is the inability to accept injured birds at the facility.

“If anyone has an injured bird, the best thing to do is give us a call and we can have someone meet you outside our parking lot and then we’ll deal with it at another location.”

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After battling the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it brought in 2020 and 2021, Weir said bird flu is another hurdle the center will just have to overcome.

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Weir explained that this primarily affects ducks and geese, but can also impact species like falcons, hawks and even foxes.

“We are always going to be open (and) see how it goes with each passing week.

“There’s nothing we can do to stop it, but hopefully it’s something that might peak now because of spring migrations.”

The Alberta Birds of Prey Center will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 21 through Labor Day.

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