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Master Falconer Brings Unique Show To Waterman Center

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It was a wild time at the Waterman Conservation Center on Saturday. 

Dozens came out to watch "The Raptor Project", a presentation done by renowned master falconer and wildlife rehabilitator Jonathan Wood and his live collection of traveling raptors. 

Throughout the day, Wood gave a total of three presentations, filling out the room at each show with audience members ranging from children to adults.

From a bald eagle to a red tailed owl, Wood's educational shows features 15 to 20 birds of prey ranging from different habitats. 

"You can go out and watch a falcon fly in the sky, you can even watch a bald eagle soar over a river, but if you see one that’s three feet away from you, that’s an amazing thing. They’re stunning, they’re beautiful, they have a lot of charisma and they are representative of the wild," said Wood. 

Starting at the age of 12, Wood has been training birds of prey for the past 50 years, going professional 25 years ago.

The Waterman Conservation Center was just one stop out of many on his tour, bringing his educational show to millions of people across the country every year.

"I’ve traveled in 45 states so far so I get to see America like nobody else gets to see it. I’ll be in the Rocky Mountains this summer. I’ll be in Cape Cod. I’ll be in some beautiful places. And getting to see how cool this country really is it’s just incredible and I get to do that and make a living doing that so I’m like the American Dream," said Wood. 

The master falconer has over 50 birds of prey ranging from falcons to owls in addition to the number of baby birds that hatch. 

"We do breed birds so we have a whole bunch of babies that we take care," said Wood. 

According to Wood, his favorite part about doing his exhibits is seeing children be inspired and learn to love these birds of prey. 

"I watch kids come in here all day and they fell in love with these birds, and they'll go home and they'll read about birds and then they'll go birdwatching and some of them will become anything from conservation officers to ecotourism specialists," said Wood.  "They'll find their ecological niche out there and I've seen it happen over and over again."

"I was looking at kids today that I will see here 10 years from now and they'll tell me 'guess what I'm doing for a living' and I'll say 'what are you doing' and they'll say 'you know you really inspired me became I came to see your birds'," added Wood. "I am not the inspiration the birds are."