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Residents of Raptor Canyon

We love birds. We adore the way they peck under their wings while cleaning. And the way they cock their heads side to side when they hear an intriguing sound. We also love the way they can fly and land and grab things in their talons. But we especially love the way they absolutely scare the bejeezus out of our mom. Ever since she saw Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, she hasn't gone near an aviary or strayed too long under trees in her back yard in case there are nests of birds just waiting to peck her eyes out.

The Fort Worth Zoo wants to make sure future generations aren't scarred by bird trauma and give the respect our feathered friends deserve. The zoo works to conserve several species of birds and is home to 109 species, and the zoo's exhibits in a section called Raptor Canyon show four species of birds in their simulated natural habitats, including king vultures, condors and two types of eagles. Another program aiding these efforts is Bird Bonanza, a two-day celebration of our winged pals.

Bird Bonanza is offered free to zoo visitors Saturday and Sunday, and includes demonstrations of raptors and how to band birds and activities such as scavenger hunts and making bird feeders. Keepers will also talk about birds and host live bird shows. Plus the first 100 kids each day receive paper binoculars called "Zoomers." And, as usual, Raptor Canyon will be open, so you can enter the aviary and hang out with vultures and eagles separated from them by only a mesh screen. But only if you dare.

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