Get up close and personal with the city’s birds of prey at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Photos courtesy of Parks Department

Red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons and bald eagles are just some of the birds children and adults will be able to interact with at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

For the first time in its 18-year history, Raptor Fest will be held in Queens on Oct. 8. near the Unisphere, where resident red-tailed hawks have made a home for themselves.The event is hosted by the Parks Department and Urban Park Rangers and aims to educate city residents about the birds of prey that live here.


Previously held in Central Park and Prospect Park, Richard Simon, deputy director of the Urban Park Rangers, said Flushing Meadows Corona Park administrators reached out to the Parks Department to request the move to Queens. The festival is named raptor for the word meaning birds of prey, or birds that hunt and feed on other animals.

The festival was supposed to take place in Queens last year, but was canceled due to bad weather.

From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. visitors will witness flight demonstrations by Skyhunters in Flight and animal displays by the nonprofit Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation.

At least a dozen birds will be on display including falcons, hawks, owls and ravens.

In a previous interview, Simon called the birds “apex predators.”

“They eat a lot of rodents and squirrels and some of them even eat large insects so they help control some of the pests that are in the city,” Simon said. “They’re really a great big bird so kids will have an easy time recognizing them and all of a sudden noticing that there’s a difference between pigeons and starlings and there are other birds we have in New York City.”

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