CPN Eagle Aviary employee Bree Dunham gives an eagle presentation to a group of Tribal members during Family Reunion Festival 2016, a tradition that will continue this year.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Eagle Aviary was the fourth Native American aviary to open in the country. Off a quite road away from town, it houses 14 eagles, one falcon and two hawks.

The aviary’s mission is to be a place of rehabilitation and sanctuary for injured birds. Some live the rest of their lives there, and others return to the wild following recovery. The aviary also works with the Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Every summer, the facility hosts Family Reunion Festival tours. “Many people cherish the emotional and educational experience,” said Aviary Manager
Jennifer Randell.

What to expect

Tours run 7 a.m. to noon each day of Festival. Members must sign up at the Cultural Heritage Center’s front desk. The Tribe provides round-trip transportation to and from the aviary. Participants should be ready to board the bus at the CHC at their chosen time.

On average, there are 25 people per tour, which last between 45 minutes and an hour. After arriving, the staff gives a presentation inside the office and indoor viewing area about the facility, its history and the year’s highlights. There is also a question and answer session. It all lasts about 20 minutes.

Moving into the outdoor viewing area, Tribal members spend another 20 minutes with the birds outdoors. It is as close to their natural habitat as possible, and their calls alone make for a unique and memorable day. Staff allows tour participants to get close to the eagles. The indoor and outdoor viewing areas are both great places for photos.

The staff asks visitors to be calm, quiet and respectful. Anyone yelling, throwing rocks, banging on windows or otherwise disturbing the birds will be asked to leave.

“These eagles are like our veterans, our wounded warriors who have worked hard for us carrying our prayers (to the Creator),” Randell said. “We should act accordingly.”

Photo opportunities with the golden eagle Myanabe (He Sees Poorly) are also available during aviary presentations Friday and Saturday afternoon at the Cultural Heritage Center.

More information is available at http://cpn.news/scheduledevents