By Steve Lyttle
The troubled economy has forced the Carolina Raptor Center to close for two weeks and cut staff, but officials of the bird rehabilitation center say they will reopen next week, and that visitors will notice few changes.
“We've had some cutbacks because of the economy,” media and communications coordinator Danny Bumgarner said Monday. “Donations are down, support in general is down.”
The raptor center, on the grounds of Latta Plantation Park in northwest Mecklenburg County, closed last Tuesday, to “give our birds a rest and to update our exhibits, programs and even our organization,” according to the center's Web site.
Reopening is planned for 10a.m. Nov. 18.
Bumgarner said basic operations at the center have continued – specifically, the care and rehabilitation of eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and other birds of prey. More than 100 birds live permanently at the Raptor Center, and
“There's a misunderstanding that we're not accepting birds now, but we are,” he said. “That's our primary focus.”
Bumgarner said an unspecified number of staff cuts were made.
The operating schedule also is likely to be cut. Bumgarner said that while a final decision has not been made, it appears as if the center will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, rather than the seven-day operation previously. No decision has been made on whether to change the admission price, which ranges from $8 for adults down to free for young children.
Members are admitted free, and Bumgarner said memberships are important to the center.
“Those memberships are a big help for us in caring for the birds,” he said.
The Carolina Raptor Center's biggest day annually is the day after Thanksgiving, Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner said families who are looking for something to do and want to avoid the Black Friday shopping crowds tend to gravitate toward the center.
Want to join?
The Carolina Raptor Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary Nov. 21 with a party for members. For information about the center and its memberships, check www.carolinaraptorcenter.org, or call 704-875-6521.