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The Raptor Experience

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When you're looking for an up close and personal animal experience with an expert on that animal, most think of the zoo. But at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, people can get that knowledgeable experience with Raptors, up close and personal.

Formerly the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is home to five museums and a research library. It's a place to learn about the American West, but also a place to get face to face with raptors. Kateri is the newest bird at the Greater Yellowstone Raptor Experience, a 12-pound Golden Eagle. The largest avian predator in North America.

"When you come to a museum, you're expecting to see lots of displays and artifacts and exhibits and most people aren't expecting to see live animals. So, it's a really unique opportunity for people to see live birds up close," says Melissa Hill, Raptor Program Manager at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. "You might be lucky enough to see one soaring high above but now you get to see one within a few feet and learn all about them. Because the odds of having someone nearby to answer the questions you think of, is pretty slim, even in a national park."

The Raptor Experience is an opportunity for people to learn about five different raptors that are now permanently non-releasable: Kateri the Golden Eagle, a Great Horned Owl, a Red Tailed Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon, and a Turkey Vulture.

"To see the colors in their eyes, how many different colors are in their feathers, to see the power in their feet up close, it's not something you normally experience. So, to have a bird that can no longer survive in the wild and whose new purpose is to help educate folks, is something you just don't want to pass up," says Hill.

The Greater Yellowstone Raptor Experience is open every day at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody.