Florida eagles, hawks, falcons abound at Raptor Fest

Raptors ruled the day on Saturday at St. Petersburg’s Boyd Hill Nature Center, home to nearly two dozen birds of prey such as hawks, owls and eagles that have been deemed non-releasable.

Each year for the last decade the park has drawn hundreds of fans of the carnivorous birds that are prized for their keen eyesight, sharp talons and hooked beaks. The Raptor Fest raises awareness and the day’s activities were free, though donations were appreciated to support Boyd Hill’s Birds of Prey Program.

One of the highlights was getting to see birds in free flight. Boyd Hill has raptors that are trained to fly over crowds from a post and land safely on the padded arm of their handler. There were also photo opportunities, environmental exhibits, kids activities and bird walks at the nature center at 1101 Country Club Way S in St. Petersburg.

Florida has more than 30 species of raptors, including hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures and owls.