Minnesota Raptor Center to release healthy birds

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota is preparing to release a handful of its rehabilitated birds into the wild.

The center will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the release on Saturday. It has treated more than 16,000 birds over the years, including 580 owls, eagles and falcons so far in 2014. Its birds are seen by more than 150,000 people each year.

Executive director Julia Ponder says people appreciate raptors more today than they did 40 years ago, when they were considered varmints and bald eagle and peregrine falcon populations were dwindling. She says birds face a wide variety of threats such as power lines and toxins when living in an urban or suburban environment.

The center will release birds into the Carpenter Nature Center at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

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