An eagle returning to its handler

by Lynne Tyler

The Friends of Ferguson Forest Centre (FFFC) are bringing the Birds of Prey Show back to Kemptville for two shows on June 25. The show was an annual event prior to the pandemic, and is now coming back.

The show is very exciting, as the different raptors plunge and soar, performing free flight demonstrations before returning to their handlers. It has been immensely popular in the past and makes a wonderful outing for the whole family. FFFC is very pleased to bring it to our community again.

The Canadian Raptor Conservancy provides the show, which features a wide range of birds of prey. The demonstration is expected to include five different raptors from around the world, including at least three free-flying birds. Some of the birds are also the stars of Hollywood productions! 

This unique encounter with nature’s flying hunters might include:

  • The bird with the best vision in nature, able to spot its prey from over 20 km away.
  • The only species of hawk that hunts in a pack, just like a family of wolves.
  • The bird of prey that has the most highly developed sense of smell in the world – even better than a bloodhound.
  • One of the world’s most nocturnal animals. This owl can find its food on the darkest of nights using only its ears.
  • The amazing falcon, as it folds its wings and accelerates into a vertical dive, reaching speeds of up to 200 km/h as it flies over the crowd.

The exact birds involved will depend on the decision of the Conservancy, but it may include bald eagle, golden eagle, Harris hawk, barn owl, great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, American kestrel, and turkey vulture. While the birds are in flight, the handlers will provide educational commentary about each one.

The Birds of Prey Show will take place in the arboretum of Ferguson Forest (entrance from County Road 43). Signage and volunteers will help direct visitors.

There will be two performances, one at 10:00 am and one at 1 pm. Those attending are kindly asked to consider a donation – a suggested donation of $5 (or more) helps Friends put on events of this type and carry out our other programming.

The Friends of Ferguson Forest Centre is a non-profit, volunteer organization that exists to preserve, protect, maintain, and enhance the Ferguson Forest trails and other public-use areas, in partnership with the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation, for the educational benefit and enjoyment of the public; and to promote the Ferguson Tree Nursery’s historical and ongoing significance to the Ferguson Forest Centre and the local community. The Friends of FFC hold a number of activities over the year open to the public, including interpretive walks in the Forest, and educational events.  (



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