Carolina Raptor Center At A Glance

Fast Facts Cover

To be a bird is to be alive more intensely than any other living creature…birds live in a world that is always the present, mostly full of joy. – N.J. Berrill

Destination Facts

We are home to 97 permanent resident birds - eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, and corvids - whose sole mission is to educate the public about the environment, human impact, and many STEM topics.

  • CRC partners with companies and organizations across the Carolinas to fund and complete projects on the grounds at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. Owl Roofing, Hands On Charlotte and individual volunteers completed the new Great Horned Owl enclosure in the Owl Forest.
  • Latta Plantation Nature Preserve is the ninth most visited area attraction with over 366,000 annual visitors – 2014 Charlotte Business Journal Book of Lists.
  • Over 200 Eagle Scout projects have been completed at Carolina Raptor Center. In 2014, the last enclosure on the Falcon Loop was completed by Coleman Campbell and houses one of CRC’s newest additions, Derby, the Common Kestrel.
  • CRC’s Flight Show explored a new format this summer featuring three Raptor Scene Investigation episodes using audience participation to solve the crime based on Natural History clues. Program staff begins the training process for the flight show in January with 10-12 flight birds that fly in each summer’s show. Flight practice happens every day for trainer and bird alike because with repetition comes confidence.
  • CRC invited 15 local artists to display and sell their work in the Eagle’s Landing Gift Shop expanding our inventory by 60% and supporting local artists.
  • CRC was featured in “100 Things to do in Charlotte before you Die” by Sarah Crosland, a former entertainment reporter for the Charlotte Observer.
  • Executive Director Jim Warren is the President of the NC Grassroots Science Museum Collaborative, a 38 museum coalition of Science Museums, deploying STEM learning opportunities in 100 counties statewide.
  • In 2006, Carolina Raptor Center’s resident bald eagles, Savannah and Derek, became the first bald eagles in captivity to hatch and release chicks in North Carolina.
  • CRC received a 3-year, $150,000 grant from the Reemprise Fund to redesign our Volunteer program.  With these funds, CRC researched best practices with the UNCC Organizational Development department, and has since hired a fulltime Volunteer Experience Manager. Many of the recommendations have been implemented and a Volunteer Program Assessment will be completed next Spring to measure progress.
  • Carolina Raptor Center’s Wonder Project seeks to understand the spark that ignites wonder in our visitors. This research helps us create experiences that connect people to nature and inspire them to take action.
  • CRC is collaborating on an essay entitled “Measuring Wonder” for a book by academics and museum professionals entitled, “Fostering Empathy in  Museums,” due out in 2016.

Education Facts

Over 27,000 school children explore natural history, biology, physics and math concepts in formal education programs from Carolina Raptor Center. Programs are held on campus at CRC and in classrooms throughout the region.

  • CRC partnered with Latta Plantation Nature Center to create a new joint Summer Day Camp experience, “Birds and Beasties.”  Twenty-four campers attended last summer’s program. A new joint camp, Wild Survival Camp for older students, is scheduled for Summer 2016.  
  • In 2015, CRC redesigned the Eagle Migration formal education program through a grant from Duke Energy. The program will be piloted in 2016 in Gaston County. This is a part of Duke’s ongoing support of eagle conservation and education.
  • The CRC education team will present a paper on “How to communicate natural history of resident birds” at the International Association of Trainers and Educators conference in Utah in 2016. CRC is changing its resident raptor signage to get away from talking about birds’ injuries toward talking about what individuals can do to prevent injuries in the first place. Conservation messaging without the “What is wrong with THAT bird?” question.
  • We are the smallest organization ever to host the annual International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) Conference.
  • CRC educators and docents reach a quarter of a million people a year through exhibits and outdoor festivals throughout the region.
  • CRC’s 2015 Summer Camp Program had 150 participants over 8 weeks of camp -- topics included Young Vet’s, Raptor Keepers, Young Birders, Birds and Beasties and Raptors of the Silver Screen camps.
  • UTC Aerospace provided a grant in 2015 for CRC to redesign our Physics of Flight formal education curriculum targeted at Middle School students. Hands on activities and birds in flight will be part of this new program to increase student engagement and retention.
  • The RaptorVet Externship Program had 18 students from vet schools across the country, Canada and the Carribbean in 2015. RaptorVet is the only truly hands on, raptor exclusive externship available to 4th year vet students.

Conservation Facts

CRC’s rehabilitation program, now housed at the Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center, has admitted over 19,000 birds in its over 40 years.  Founded by Dr. Dick Brown, CRC outgrew the basement of the UNCC science building and moved to Latta Plantation Nature Preserve in 1984. Now CRC admits over 900 birds a year and releases approximately 70% back into the wild.

  • We are the largest raptor medical center in the United States based on admitted patients. Carolina Raptor Center treated more than 2,800 injured and/or orphaned raptors in the last 3 years and over 18,700 since 1975.
  • Dr. Dave Scott, our staff veterinarian, travels worldwide to present case studies on raptor treatment techniques and install his proprietary RaptorMed® electronic medical record.  The millions of data points in RaptorMed increase our knowledge of the world’s environmental health.
  • RaptorMed is installed at the Qatar Falconry Center, and veterinarians from that country will come in 2016 for an Advanced Orthopedics seminar.
  • Staff Veterinarian Dave Scott was nominated for the 2015 T.J. LeFeber Avian Practitioner of the year award a highly prestigious annual award in Avian Medicine.
  • CRC is involved with multiple research projects with Central Piedmont Community College, Queens University and Johnson C. Smith University.
  • Now in 10 states and three countries, Carolina Raptor Center’s proprietary electronic medical record, RaptorMed is installed at centers in Beijing, China, and Qatar, UAE. Developer and CRC’s staff veterinarian Dr. Dave Scott will deploy the program at a center in Taiwan as well as in the largest oil spill response group in the world - International Bird Rescue in California.
  • The second edition of Dr. Dave Scott’s “Handbook of Raptor Rehabilitation” is soon to be in the shelves. Used on 5 continents, this volume is often referred to as the “bible” of raptor rehabilitation.
  • Carolina Raptor Center is the source of non-releaseable native species to facilities all over the world. For example, our vultures live in Buffalo, NY, Utah, Canada and Europe. Our partnership with Sylvan Heights Bird Park, an international waterfowl conservation breeding center, will bring more opportunities our way.
  • CRC establlished a renesting program in 2014 and has since renested over 50 orphaned raptors to be raised by a member of their own species. CRC is one of only a few centers in the country that renests raptors as standard operating procedure during orphan season.
  • CRC has pioneered rehabilitation cage design. CRC is the site of some of the only large scale flight cages in the Southeast including the 100 ft x 30 ft x 30 ft. Weyerhaeuser Flight Training Facility. The Wendy Ella Guilford Owl Observatory includes a two-story viewing area and cameras to observe owls in flight. A new orphan cage design allows surrogate parents to foster baby raptors and at the same time keep them safe from possible adult aggression.
  • CRC is featured in  “Animal Helpers: Raptor Centers,” the third book of the series by Jennifer Keats Curtis.