Yesterday, my wife and I and a couple other members of the Wausau Bird Club spent a couple hours at the Raptor Education Group facility in the Antigo area. I was extremely impressed by their complex, which was much larger than I had ever anticipated. Marge Gibson, the Director, had many birds in outdoors display with handlers. These ranged from tiny Saw-whet Owls to magificent Bald Eagles. In between were many species of hawks and owls, even a Peregrine Falcon. "On display" meant most of them were on tethers, sitting on a leather glove worn by the handlers. These birds were "education birds" who had physical deformaties which prevented them being released back into the wild. REGI uses them for the many programs they put on around the state.
These birds are amazingly beautiful when seen up close (even the Turkey Vultures). The subtle nuances in the coloring of the feathers is fantastic. Also fantastic is what this organization accomplishes in the recovery programs for injured or rejected birds. I found out that the "education birds" also double as foster parents and help raise the young ones.
It is definitely worth the trip to go and see this facility. You can make yourself a map on Mapquest or ASK.com You should also check out their website for further information about this wonderful organiztion.
Naturally one guy threw in a little bird humor. He asked me if I knew why pelicans raise one leg and stand on the other. I said I didn't. He replied, "Because, if they raise both legs they'll fall on their butts!"