Learn how to train and care for your organization's birds

Carolina Raptor Center is now offering two options for online professional development and continuing education for professionals who work alongside raptor ambassadors. The information presented in each class is based on the organization’s 36 years of experience from our industry leading staff. These classes are designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the welfare of their raptor ambassadors through training, husbandry and medical care.

Raptor Academy- Individual Virtual Classes ($40)

Don’t have time to take an entire course? Join us for these hour-long virtual classes covering a wide variety of topics. Classes are offered on an individual basis and occur once a month. Each class is 60 minutes long, followed by a Q&A session.


  • Classes are the second Friday of the month (August 2022-January 2023) from 4:00-5:30 pm EST. 
  • Each class is $40, which includes a recording of the class
  • No refunds within 14 days of the first class. 
  • CEUs are available for IATCB. Please contact us for more information. 

**Group rates are available for groups with 3 or more people.  Discounts available for taking all 6 classes. For more information, please email us** 


**NEW** Raptor Academy CLASS SCHEDULE 2022

  • August 12 - Raptor Welfare
    • This course will help participants evaluate and improve the welfare of ambassador raptors through training, husbandry, medical care, and ambassador selection.  We will discuss some of our successful case studies and how changes in welfare inspired the evolution of Carolina Raptor Center’s conservation messaging.
  • September 9 - Intake Exam
    • This course is designed to provide you with the knowledge to complete an intake exam on a wild bird. From supplies to best practices for bird’s welfare, this class will cover a wide range of things to consider when admitting birds into your facility.
  • October 14 – Renesting
    • This course will cover the basics of renesting raptors.  It will focus on the overall concepts but will also go into more situation-based scenarios for different species and ages.  It will touch on the tools needed to start a renesting program. 
  • November 11 - Orphan Care
    • ​This course is a basic course in rehabilitating “orphan” raptors. From identifying and aging to rehabilitation techniques, this course will cover from intake to group living.
  • December 9 – Anatomy
    • This course is designed to help you become familiar with raptor anatomy. In learning raptor anatomy, you will be able to identify abnormalities and provide exceptional welfare for birds in your care.
  • January 13, 2023 - Exercise, Evaluation, and Release
    • This course will outline the basics of housing, including enclosure design, and the process of exercising raptors in flight enclosures. We will also cover the evaluation of flight in birds for release, briefly touch on other factors to consider before release and discuss how to plan a successful release.

Raptor Training Course ($200)

The Raptor Training Course includes five consecutive webinar classes that occur once a week. Each class is 90 minutes long, followed by a question and answer session. By request, we have added a 5th week to each session: a panel discussion.  This 45 minute class will include Raptor Center staff members with different expertise sitting down to discuss prepared topics, take a deeper dive into previous questions, and answer any new questions from participants. 


  • This seminar series is offered in four 90-minute sessions and one 45-minute discussion panel.
  • Tuition $200
  • For those that are not able to attend the live class, participants will receive a recording of every class.
  • Class sizes are limited in size to enhance the opportunity for questions and discussion.  For this reason, there will be no refunds within 14 days of the first class.
  • CEUs are available for IATCB. Please contact us for more information.

**Group rates are available for groups with 3 or more people.  For more information, please email us**


**NEW** Raptor Training Course FALL 2022 Dates and Topics

  • 10/4/2022- Raptor Welfare
  • 10/11/2022- Bird Behavior
  • 10/18/2022- Positive Reinforcement for Raptors
  • 10/25/2022- Training Techniques 
  • 11/1/2022- Panel Discussion

Classes held each Tuesday from 4:00-5:30pm EST

Class Instructor Biographies

Sunny Cooper is the Hospital Manager at Carolina Raptor Center. She has been working with raptors for the past 10 years. She is dedicated to the medical care of both wild and resident patients, in addition to general hospital operations, managing volunteers and the internship program. She has extensive experience performing wildlife triage, wellness examinations and assisting in surgical procedures with Dr. Dave Scott (DVM). She is committed to exceptional raptor welfare and continuing education for herself and providing those resources for others. She has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology from Warren Wilson College, NC 

Kristin Dean, CPBT-KA is the Director of Birds at Carolina Raptor Center. She has been working with birds, primarily raptors, for over 16 years. Currently, Kristin oversees the Raptor Rehabilitation Program and Resident Animal Programs at Carolina Raptor Center. Her experience in rehabilitating, training, and caring for raptors has resulted in a depth of raptor specific knowledge. She has worked alongside Avian Veterinarians and has performed thousands of physical exams, diagnostics, lab work, medical procedures, and necropsies, routine coping, equipment changes, talon trims and feather exams. She uses information gathered from health examinations to improve raptor welfare by suggesting habitat improvements, treatment options, and training plans. Kristin is driven to help improve the welfare of animals in human care. She shares information through CRC seminars, NEI’s TEC Talks, and IAATE papers, presentations, and articles. She currently serves as a general board member on the IAATE Board of Directors, Chairs the IAATE Education Committee and serves on the Conservation Committee and Professional Development Committee.   

Mathias Engelmann is the Senior Rehabilitation Coordinator at Carolina Raptor Center. He is involved in the daily care of patients at CRC’s hospital, including new patient admissions, supervising volunteers and interns, and enclosure maintenance and repairs. Mathias specializes in cage design and construction and manages CRC’s banding database. Mathias earned a B.A. in Biology from UNCC and has worked at CRC since 1983. Over the past 30+ years, he has attended and presented at numerous regional and national professional wildlife meetings. He has also co-hosted numerous on-site rehabilitation seminars at CRC. 

Colleen Hartman, CPBT-KA is the Curator of Birds at Carolina Raptor Center. She has been working with a variety of species including raptors and non-raptor birds of prey for over 8 years. Colleen is responsible for the care and management of the entire collection of resident birds at Carolina Raptor Center as well as training staff on implementing the most up to date training practices. She has experience working with birds of prey in dynamic show settings as well as training foundation behaviors for husbandry and on the glove programming.  Colleen has been hosting raptor training and husbandry seminars since 2016 and has aided other facilities in their understanding and application of raptor behavior, training, husbandry care, and overall welfare through the teaching of formal classes, workshops, and consultation work.