Monday, November 7, 2016

What Does it Take to be a Winged Ambassador?

Lois the great horned owl at TRC's Fall Raptor Release event.

The Raptor Center is often asked how each of our winged ambassador birds is chosen for their roles as educators. These important teachers reach over 150,000 people of all ages each year with nose to beak experiences that engage and stimulate the imagination.

But what is the job description for being an education bird? What are the considerations that The Raptor Center’s team of clinic and education staff use to decide which birds will be successful in their new roles? We thought we'd describe it as if the birds were applying for a job.

                          Winged Ambassador - Description of Position
This position is responsible for teaching more than 150,000 people each year, as an ambassador for wild raptors.

Provide opportunities for all ages to learn about raptors and the world we share.

Minimum Qualifications

While training will be provided, the successful candidate must be able to adapt to various and diverse environments while appearing at programs.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities/Selection Criteria

-Ability to project a positive attitude towards the public and handlers
-Ability to represent The Raptor Center
-Willingness to travel and work a flexible schedule

Work Environment

This work is performed at The Raptor Center and at off-site venues.

Physical Requirements

Must be able to stand on glove, or perch, for program-designated time.


The Raptor Center Education Program Manager

Required Training

Must be able to travel in crate, step onto weight scale.

TRC will provide safe and healthy housing, food and continued medical care as needed.

Our winged ambassadors appear at events as diverse as community centers, stadiums and outdoor festivals. We can ensure that the environment/space that they are brought into is safe, but there are obviously many sights and sounds that are not a part of a wild raptors’ previous experience. While continued training helps the birds be tolerant of these diverse conditions, the individual bird always chooses how they respond. Some adapt very quickly to new situations with the help of specific training to aid in confidence building. Some birds will always be better suited to less “busy” situations, and so will conduct the majority of their programs onsite.

Each bird is presented with the best possible circumstances to succeed in their new roles as educators and ambassadors for their wild cousins. It’s our privilege to work with these magnificent birds, and we appreciate how much they give all of us the opportunity to learn

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