Brighton-based foundation spreads awareness about birds of prey

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- What do an eagle, hawk and falcon all have in common? They’re all raptors, also known as birds of prey.

They’re amazing and beautiful animals, but what happens when they get hurt? Lucky for them, there is the Raptor Education Foundation in Brighton, a place that has been taking care of raptors for many years.

With a background in museum dioramas and a love of raptors, Peter Reshetniak founded the foundation.

“A lot of people didn’t understand anything about the raptors, and the resource was available," said Reshetniak. "Birds were being euthanized after rehab but they had no other function except to die, and that did not make any sense to me.“

Today, the foundation is home to 30 raptors who -- for one reason or the other -- could not survive in the wild.

"Take a look at the bald eagle behind us, a 28-year-old male bald (eagle). He was shot. The golden eagle in with him, the male, [was] hit by a truck on I-90 up in Montana," said Reshetniak.

Curator Anne Price has been with the foundation for 32 years. She started there as a volunteer.

"I’ve been working with raptors since I was 12. This is what I wanted to do. Went to CU and this was the best place to keep on educating and playing with birds," she said.

Price is convinced that the foundation is not only a safe haven for raptors, but a source of information about raptors that, in the long run, benefits the birds.

"Oh absolutely, you know, people only conserve what they love, they only love what they understand, and people need to understand raptors. They want to understand raptors," said Price.

Bald eagles, Swainson's hawks, even a rare white snowy owl call the Raptor Education Foundation home.

Reshetniak’s ultimate goal of his rest home for raptors: "We hope they get a little bit of respect for all of those other creatures that aren’t Homo sapiens.  We’ve got a lot to learn from them."

The Raptor Education Foundation is having an open house this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. It’s free to the public.

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