SBAS welcomes a new Peregrine Falcon to its Eyes In the Sky Program
Santa Barbara Audubon Society (SBAS) welcomes a new bird to its Eyes In the Sky Program (EITS) located at the Audubon Aviary at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The Peregrine Falcon, “Koda,” is believed to be approximately four years old and suffered a broken wing in the wild which rendered him permanently unable to fly. He will now join the SBAS program’s other birds of prey as an educational ambassador animal. “Everyone is so excited that Koda is here at the aviary. He is doing remarkably well adjusting to the aviary, getting used to people handling him, and navigating his perches,” shared Hannah Atkinson, EITS Program Director and a licensed falconer. “We are thrilled to welcome Koda to our flock and grateful to all of our EITS volunteers for the energy and high-quality care they give the raptors each day,” said Katherine Emery, SBAS Executive Director.
Koda will continue to train and settle into his new home. In 2021, EITS lost Kisa, a female Peregrine Falcon who had been with EITS for over 10 years. “Peregrine Falcons were nearly extinct at one time because of human behavior; however, with intense and focused conservation efforts, they have made an amazing comeback. We are fortunate to have Koda so we can continue to educate people about raptors,” explained Hannah. “It is particularly exciting to have a Peregrine Falcon on our team because they are the fastest bird in the world.”
EITS has been Santa Barbara Audubon’s key wildlife education program since 2000. It features five birds of prey that serve as education ambassadors: three owls, one falcon, and one hawk. The birds are in SBAS care because they cannot survive in the wild, with circumstances ranging from blindness to broken wings. Each bird had to be rescued because of a permanent disability. EITS, the only federally licensed raptor education program in Santa Barbara County, provides up-close educational experiences to community members of all ages, from all walks of life. The goal is to foster respect and understanding for these wild species and their habitats. The EITS birds are presented by volunteer handlers at the Audubon Aviary in the Museum Backyard from 2:00 – 4:00 PM each day the Museum is open. They can be seen in their aviaries during Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History open hours, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily except for Tuesdays.