Eyes in the Sky’s First Aviary Open House

-By John O’Brien

Several hundred visitors, both locals and from out of town, celebrated with Audubon and The Museum of Natural History at EITS’ first annual Aviary Open House on September 8th. Families enjoyed the many events spread throughout SBMNH’s campus that took place between 12 noon and 4 PM.


Three very interested children gathered around a display
of some members of the museum’s raptor collection and
Rebecca Coulter, SBMNH’s volunteer manager, was on
hand to answer questions.

There were aviary tours explaining the procedures that EITS volunteers follow each and every day to care for their seven ambassadors. There were three booths that were offering up-close meetings of EITS raptors as well as stage presentations that provided in depth discussions on three different ambassadors including the histories of why and how they ended up at EITS. There were educational programs and stations including information on birding, bird handling and raptor care. The raptor feather identification station tested people’s skill and knowledge on feather types. One of the big hits with the kids (of all ages) was the owl pellet dissection station that was very busy all day long.


The owl-pellet dissection table proved popular
with youngsters.

The Museum provided a raptor specimens station from its bird collection and museum staff were on hand to explain the subtle differences between raptor species, sexes and ages and to answer questions about their specimens. Merchandise including Audubon hats, EITS t-shirts, raptor buttons of all seven ambassadors, custom made bird houses, EITS logo canvas bags and many other items were on sale to help support the program. For individuals who needed mid-afternoon nourishment, various food and snack items were also offered for sale. All in all it was deemed a rousing success with EITS Program Director, Gabriele Drozdowski, proclaiming the Open House will definitely become an annual event.

Thanks to all who helped make it such a success and the generous public support the event achieved.


Eyes in the Sky volunteer Bonnie Whitney
answers questions about Kisa, a peregrine falcon that
EITS adopted in 2011 when she was nine months old.
Kisa was found on the ground in a field in Rancho Palos
Verdes. She can no longer fly due to a bullet in her shoulder. Veterinarians decided it was too risky to remove
the bullet, as the procedure could have damaged more
muscles and tendons in the shoulder. Peregrine falcons
are the fastest animals on earth.