KUNA - Here at the Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey, expert avian scientists conserve predatory birds worldwide.

From Harpy Eagles to Sparrow Hawks, and California Condors to rare South American raptors, visitors to the unique center just off South Cole road in Boise will find beautiful examples of these animals. However, to actually view many of the birds in their native habitats, the best place to go is the Snake River plane just south of Kuna.

The Boise based center uses a number of captive breeding techniques and education to complete it's mission of conservation in the Kuna area.

Jack Cafferty, Interpretive Center Director, says it's important to educate not only birdwatchers, but the greater public about these animals. These birds are almost our modern day dinosaurs in some ways, Cafferty explains.

Why is it important to conserve and keep them alive? The reason, according to Cafferty, is that countless bird species around the world are in decline, or already extinct due to habitat loss and pesticide use.

Cafferty says raptors and other birds of prey have been particularly hard-hit.

However, here in southwest Idaho, many North American predatory birds have a better fighting chance.

Trish Nixon, who handles many of the birds at the center, says that's because the open space, habitat, and prey animals these birds need to live are in abundance throughout this area.

Idaho, and this area of Idaho particularly, is a Mecca, Nixon said.

That's why hundreds of people make the trek to the Treasure Valley each year to check out the Kuna area and spot these beautiful birds.

The center's staff say if you'd like to investigate their habitat, just stop at the World Center for Birds of Prey and get a guidebook, map, and some directions. After that, just head south towards Kuna and the Snake River with a good pair of binoculars and some patience.

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