Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Raptor Training Workshop
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. • Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
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We are partnering with Wings to Soar to offer an extensive and informative raptor training workshop. The workshop will be given at Reflection, and is for individuals interested in gaining comprehensive knowledge on the care, training, and utilization of birds of prey for outreach programs. When considering working with birds of prey, it is of the utmost importance to be well-versed and knowledgeable about their special needs and behaviors. There are many intricate and important details that need to be followed when working with raptors to insure the healthiest situation for both the raptors and the humans interacting with them.

Our goal is to facilitate an environment for educators and caregivers to use common sense and compassion when interacting with birds of prey. This two-day workshop will orient both beginner and experienced raptor handlers to the more detailed aspects of caring for and training captive birds for educational purposes.


  • Hands-on interactive learning
  • Work with live, trained birds of prey
  • One-on-one assistance
  • Work with highly trained and experienced educators

Workshop Topics

Day One:

  • Essentials in raptor care: keeping your raptors healthy
  • Proper diet and keeping your bird healthy
  • Perching/checking feet/foot issues (hands-on)
  • Signs of illness and disease prevention/solutions
  • Enclosure specifications and raptor housing
  • Weight assessment
  • Restraining raptors (hands-on)
  • Coping beaks, trimming talons, imping feathers (hands-on)
  • Equipment making: jesses, leashes, anklets (hands-on)

Day Two:

  • Raptor handling and training techniques
  • Selecting the right bird for education
  • Raptor behavior and reading body language
  • Bird handling techniques (hands-on)
  • Operant conditioning and training techniques (hands-on)
  • Raptor crate training/ crate designs/ raptor transportation (hands-on)
  • Raptor outreach training/ how to make your programs safe, fun and educational


John Stokes and Dale Kernahan of Wings to Soar bring their combined 65 years of experience to share their knowledge as raptor caregivers, handlers and educators.

Tish Gailmard, Director of Wildlife at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center and Taylor Berry, a seasoned animal trainer and Assistant Director of Wildlife/lead educator, will assist Dale and John utilizing their unique experiences with bird handling, training techniques and husbandry. A continental breakfast and lunch will be given each day and is included in the registration fee. Please note in detail any dietary restrictions.


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