Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County will host a celebration for International Vulture Awareness Day on September 3 starting at 12 p.m.
The event will include a free live vulture program, educational activities for children, and a free talk on vultures and their conservation status by Director of Conservation Science Dr. Keith Bildstein. The seasonal Weekend Programs also begin on the 3rd.
Red Creek Wildlife Center will offer a live vulture program at noon in the Sanctuary's Outdoor Amphitheater. Visitors are encouraged to trek to the lookouts to enjoy the Autumn Hawk Watch that will be well underway, with possibly large numbers of raptors soaring past.
Director of Conservation Science Dr. Keith Bildstein's talk will describe the world vultures crisis as well as the Sanctuary's ongoing work with vultures in North America, South America, and Africa.
He will discuss the unique nature of vulture movements and the important role vultures play in natural and human-dominated ecosystems. The illustrated talk will take place in the Visitor Center Gallery at 5:30 pm.
"Three quarters of the world's 22 species are now endangered globally," explained Bildstein. "We need to discuss the problems they face and what we and others can do to help."
The day also marks the official opening of the new trailside gallery along the ADA accessible Silhouette Trail, which meanders through Hawk Mountain's ridge-top forest between the Trail Head and South Lookout.
The specially commissioned gallery features life-size, in-flight silhouettes of 7 of the world's 22 species of vultures and condors, including four New World species (Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Andean Condor, and California Condor) and three Old World species (Hooded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, and Egyptian Vulture).
A brochure describing these will be available at the trail entrance, and the one-of-a-kind silhouettes will remain in place through December.
"The focus of our celebration is to help visitors fall in love with vultures," Senior Educator Rachel Spagnola expressed. "We do that by providing hands-on activities, inviting guests to explore our newest trail sprinkled with life-size vulture displays, and offering opportunities for up-close and personal vulture viewing. We encourage all to spread their wings on IVAD and explore the birthplace of raptor conservation by meeting a live vulture and a world-renowned vulture expert!"
In addition to the IVAD festivities, the Fall Weekend Programs will begin on the 3rd as well. The available programs cover a variety of raptor observation basics and offer guests and additional, unique education opportunity.
The schedule includes: Raptors Up Close! at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Trapping and Tracking Raptors at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Binocular Basics at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and Name that Raptor at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Click Here for more information on weekend programs.For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary or call 610-756-6961. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Sanctuary, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, visit them on Flickr, be part of their Google+ Circle and visit their YouTube Channel.