Returning to flight: Raptor release draws large crowds to Carpenter Nature Center

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Hundreds of raptor enthusiasts, many wielding binoculars and long-lens cameras, gathered at Carpenter Nature Center Saturday, Sept. 16, to watch and cheer rehabilitated birds' return to the wild.

The dramatic return to flight for several raptors, including hawks and a bald eagle, was the main attraction for the University of Minnesota Raptor Center's raptor release event at Carpenter.

The birds that were released had been brought by the public to the Raptor Center in St. Paul, usually after being found with injuries or an inability to fly. The Raptor Center then rehabilitated the birds. Some 600 to 800 birds are brought to the Raptor Center each year.

In addition to the raptor releases, held in the morning and afternoon, Carpenter and the Raptor Center also had education birds on hand for people to observe up close, interpretive stations and other activities.