Originally known as the Raptors Rehabilitation and Propagation Project, the World Bird Sanctuary is a feather in Missouri’s cap.  This sanctuary sits on 305 acres of Missouri’s hardwood forest just next to the Lone Elk County Park. Open from 8 am to 5 pm daily,  the sanctuary is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Free seasonal nature shows are part of the sanctuary’s schedule.  Educational programs are offered as well as indoor and outdoor exhibits.  There are picnic pavilions on the property.  So feel free to bring a picnic lunch with you for those lovely days in the Spring, Summer or Fall.  Missouri’s weather will have some moderate winter days, but only once in a while.  Bring the hot chocolate.

While you are visiting the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, you will see the Eurasian Eagle Owl which is the biggest owl species in the world.  You will walk the trails and maybe get a glimpse of the female white necked raven.  Listen to her talk or she might whistle like an owl.  The thick billed parrot is the only native American parrot and the Sanctuary is home to one.

Walk the wonderful trails (handicapped accessible and easy to manage for all to enjoy) and see the Raptor’s Exhibit, the Nature Center and Amphitheater and Owl Row to name few of the places on the Sanctuary’s map.  The trails are well lighted and designed with safety in mind. This stroll along the path is great for the kids as well as the grandmother or granddad.  There are railings for holding on and the trails are well kept.

The visitor center within the sanctuary is open for 10 am to 4 pm.  The winter hours are from 11 am to 3 pm. This is the place to inquire about the many programs the WBS has to offer.

Become a World Bird Sanctuary friend by making a donation to the organization.  It receives no state or federal funding and depends solely on its supporters. It was founded in 1977 by ornithologist Walter C. Crawford, Jr.  who wanted a dedicated organization for helping to educate the public and rehabilitate and help propagate the birds of prey.  He still dedicates his time to working along with the 25 staff members who work to make dreams and mission statements come true.

Another way you may want to help support the WBS is by “buying a brick”.  This program will help in repairs for the amphitheater.  Brick are 4”x8” and can be engraved with 3 lines of text.  Company logos are popular because WBS relies on companies for support.

Volunteers are very welcome.  There is a page on the Internet at www.worldbirdsanctuary.org that lists some volunteer openings currently available.  Volunteers are an important part of this 501(c) 3 organization and the man hours given by them are precious.  Volunteers are asked to work a minimum of 16 hours per month.  Time and training is necessary for the volunteer to learn the job and then that person is a vital part of the operation. If you live near Valley Park, Missouri, consider being a volunteer.

There are other creatures beside birds of prey at the sanctuary.  With all the hardwoods there, you will surely see some birds that are native to Missouri.  Bring you binoculars and your field guide.  This adventure is a terrific way to get out of the car and commune with Nature.