Galveston’s premier birding event, FeatherFest, begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday at 4700 Broadway in Galveston, thanks to the fine folks at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, who share their space each year.

There’s something for everyone at FeatherFest, including an evening event, “Raptors Uncorked,” which celebrates birds of prey, or raptors, and is held in downtown Galveston.

Raptors are defined as birds of prey because they hunt and feed on rodents and small animals. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapere, meaning to seize or take by force. Birds of prey have keen vision that allows them to detect their prey during flight, as well as powerful talons and beaks. There are a number of raptors in the Galveston area including hawks, buzzards, osprey, owls, falcons and caracara. The Peregrine Falcon can fly up to 240 miles per hour and is considered the fastest bird in the world. Imagine being a mouse and trying to outrun this bird!

But about Raptor’s Uncorked, this one-of-a-kind wildlife celebration will be an exciting evening filled with flying birds of prey, endless photo ops, an exceptional four-course dinner and wine, a raptors raffle filled with great surprises, a safari photo booth, and so much more! Raptor’s Uncorked is a fun culinary and avian delight that has become a FeatherFest favorite with returning guests, and a must-do event for first-time festivalgoers.

You will laugh along with “Sheila,” an Australian Laughing Kookaburra. You will enjoy Harris’ Hawks “Xena” and “Tango” doing their aerial show. You’ll go home talking about the dapper Black Vulture “Lenny” (who knew a vulture could be so cute?). The Saker Falcon “Krieger” will be literally “on-hand,” and the ever-popular Barn Owl, “Widget,” will thrill you to see so up close. The birds are part of the Wildlife Revealed Sky Kings Falconry team led by Kevin Gaines and never cease to thrill the audience.

The event will give you ample opportunity to see raptors in motion (and still) and will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the historic T. Jefferson League Building, 2301 Strand, Topgallant Room. For a ticket ($65 covers all), visit GalvestonFeatherFest.com. Please join us for this very special event. You will not be disappointed.

Elizabeth “Bets” Anderson lives in Galveston and is a life member of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, which sponsors FeatherFest.

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