People visit a local avian center for last tour of the year

BROOKS, WV (WOAY)- Unique raptor birds of a vast variety are bringing in quite a crowd, as people make one last visit to the Three Rivers Avian Center in Brooks before their season comes to an end. And like a typical tour, 13 different raptors were shown, from owls to falcons, hawks, and even a bald eagle.

“Gimley is an American kestrel, he’s the smallest raptor and also the smallest falcon in the U.S,” says Cheryl Hickman, a board member at Three Rivers Avian Center. “Most of these birds have been injured in one way or another and they’re here because they are non-releasable, they would have to be euthanized if they weren’t here.”

This year the facility had to conduct the tours a little differently due to COVID-19, starting later in the season and holding them strictly outdoors, but that didn’t stop the same hands-on, interactive learning experience and up-close looks at these native and mighty Ambassadors.

“What we’ve discovered is if we introduce people to these guys then the questions start coming and we can talk about why this species is important, what role it plays in the ecosystem, and what can be done to help wild birds,” says Wendy Perroni, Executive Director of TRAC.

The Avian Center is a place of refuge for these bird species, serving as a crucial alternative from the home they can no longer have in the wild, and these tours serve as an important reminder of the Ambassador bird’s role in our area.

“It’s really important that people care about our wild birds, and it’s not just because it’s a group that’s having trouble, it’s because they are one of our great pollinators, they are great insect catchers, the raptors are great at rodent control,” Perroni says.

And despite the changes, the facility saw a successful year of these informative and enlightening public tours.

The Center plans to hold the tours outside-only again for next year but is excited to be starting back to normal on the first Saturday in May, rather than July. Until next year’s public tours, you can visit them at

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