Hanging out with raptors at the Pacific Rim Institute

PRI welcomes the community to attend Whidbey Raptor Day Saturday, Sept. 9.

Saturday, Sept. 9, the Pacific Rim Institute welcomes community members to attend Whidbey Raptor Day, an event where people of all ages can learn about birds of prey from expert falconers and admire them up close.

Led by falconer Aaron Allred, the event takes place at 180 Parker Road in Coupeville, where Pacific Rim Institute is located.

Robert Pelant, who is the founder and CEO of the organization, explained that birds of prey are fundamental to a healthy and diverse ecosystem. Some of the birds at the event include the goshawk and the red tailed hawk, both of which can be found on Whidbey.

From noon to 1 p.m., the event is exclusively for students who are seeking to earn extra credit. Pelant encourages teachers to contact the institute to arrange for their students to participate. The general public is welcome to attend from 1 to 3 p.m.

Both groups will also have a chance to see the raptors fly — weather permitting — and hold them with a glove.

Pelant said he is very excited to bring back this event, which has been paused since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Hungry participants can prey on hot dogs and refreshments brought by the Central Whidbey Lions Club.

“Birds of prey touch our hearts,” Pelant said. “We look up in the sky and watch them soaring above. And it’s a moving experience. This is a way to come and get close to these beautiful creatures, and to be inspired by the falconers who work with them and educate people all year long.”