For thousands of years, the birds of prey – eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and osprey – have maintained a grip on the human imagination. Around the globe, raptors have been revered as divine messengers, prized as hunting companions, celebrated as symbols of majesty and political power and reviled as scavengers and deadly killers. On Saturday, Feb. 19, “Hunters of the Sky,” a special exhibition featuring these birds of prey, will open at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. The exhibition, which will fill two galleries and include more than 20 hands-on exhibit areas, will be on view through May 30.
“Hunters of the Sky” will give museum visitors insight into the lives of these remarkable predators – where they live, what they eat, how they navigate and fly, how they nest and rear their young, and how they find and capture their prey. The exhibit also investigates the role birds of prey have played in human culture through a sampling of their use as symbols in art, literature and religions from around the world, with particular emphasis on the Native American relationship to eagles and other raptors.
Questions of conservation and rehabilitation of birds of prey are another focal point in the exhibition, including the story of the first California Condors to be re-released into the wild. The “Spotted Owl Café” is an area that looks into the controversy surrounding conservation of the Northern Spotted Owl, and provides information about the connection between raptors and their habitats, and why this particular species has been such a focal point of conservationists. Another exhibit showcases the urban peregrine falcon project in cities like Minneapolis. Each area is enhanced with taxidermied bird specimens, videos and hands-on exhibits.
The exhibit will open with an activity-filled family “Raptor Day,” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. Scheduled events will include live bald eagle demonstrations by the Sutton Avian Research Center and a variety of hands-on crafts, storytimes and activities for children. Throughout the run of the exhibition, the museum will offer a variety of programming for adults and children focusing on birds of prey. Information about these programs will be available on the museum’s web site: www.snomnh.ou.edu.
The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (405)-325-4712.
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