BOISE — Businesses are taking economic hits due to the pandemic, but The World Center for Birds of Prey is in the business of keeping bird populations alive, and they've had to get creative to continue saving raptors.
"We've focused so much on people visiting us, but there are so many people that don't have a chance to visit us, so we're creating online content that's able to reach people in their homes throughout the world," said director of the center Tate Mason.
An essential component of conservation is human interaction, which is why Mason says it exists in the first place. Now, they're turning to online tools to continue reaching people all over.
"We have seen a fantastic turnout, in particular on Facebook live," said Mason.
Facebook lives are free, but there is a button where you can add a donation. They're also offering online webinars at a small cost, which discusses topics for elementary-aged kids and older students.
"We're bringing our professional raptor biologists from around the world to our virtual speaker series, where we're really able to delve into the topics of raptor conservation," said Mason.
There's a series airing every Thursday at 1 pm called "Saving Species." These online resources take the place of the visitor center, which Tate says brings in admission revenue to support their education programs and live birds.
"Without that revenue stream coming in, we certainly are looking at some budget shortfalls," said Mason.
Despite the temporary closure, there's still minimal staff taking care of the raptors and 26 education birds at the center. Mason says regardless of how the message spreads, in person or online, they're still focused on providing education on conservation.
"Sometimes, when things are going wrong, it creates a lot of opportunity for innovation," said Mason.
The director says condors are sitting on 11 or 12 eggs at the moment. He predicts they'll hatch in late April. If Idaho is still under a stay-at-home order, Mason says they're considering a Facebook live for the hatching.