One of the less well known programs at the Frost Valley YMCA is our Raptor Center, home to several owls and hawks who have sustained injuries. Because most of these birds have damage to a wing, they are unable to fly and can no longer survive in the wild. Instead, they continue to live with us and act as great ambassadors to their species.
On certain weekends we offer tours of our raptor center, and on some occasions one of our instructors will take one of these amazing birds out of their home, allowing guests a rare chance to see such an animal up close. Although the Great Horned Owl shown in these pictures seems quite large, he only weighs a few pounds. Despite this fact, he is able to lift a large amount of weight. They are known to hunt anything from a chipmunk all the way up to small raccoons and skunks.
Guests who have been coming to Frost Valley for many years sometimes note their surprise in seeing these birds year after year. In the wild, a great horned owl is expected to live up to thirteen years, but because an owl living within captivity has no predators, they have been know to live past twenty five years! Keep on eye out for the Raptor Center Tour on your next trip to the valley, it is an easy going activity and a memorable part of any weekend.