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Alberta Birds of Prey Centre reopens following ‘unimaginably difficult’ months without visitors

Alberta Birds of Prey Centre reopens with COVID-19 precautions
WATCH: The manager of the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre said the popular attraction lost a huge amount of revenue while closed in May and June, usually its busiest time of year. Danica Ferris has more on the centre’s reopening this week.

The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre has reopened following two months without visitors due to COVID-19.

July would normally mark the third of four busy months for the popular, educational attraction, but Canada Day marked opening day for the centre.

Read more: Alberta Birds of Prey Centre sees decline in visitors for 2019 season

Manager Colin Weir said it’s been a tough go, with revenue evaporating overnight, while the centre still had many expenses including keeping staff on for essential bird care.

“We still have lots of birds to feed, to care for,” Weir said. “As well as still being able to care for injured and orphaned birds that people bring to us almost daily.”

Despite the lost revenue, Weir said the centre should be able to continue on while carefully watching expenses, and staff are hoping to make the best of the remaining summer months.

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After having just three or four staff through May and June, summer students were hired on to work for July and August.

Weir said the centre didn’t have to make a ton of changes to be COVID-19 friendly — with the sheer size of the property making physical distancing possible — but visitors may notice a few differences.

Read more: Town of Coaldale hears findings from investigation looking into 15 bird deaths last summer

“We’ve got one-way directional signs on the pathways, we’ve got one-time use gloves… so we don’t pass gloves on from person to person, then also we’re not inviting visitors to touch the birds’ feathers, so we’re trying to eliminate all of those common touch points,” he said.

But Weir said guests will still be allowed to pose with the birds — a popular draw for the Birds of Prey Centre.

“People are still welcome to put a bird on their arm for pictures, but we just ask that they put on a mask, just when we’re working with them, and then they can still take off their mask for their picture,” he said.

The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre will now be open Monday to Friday, through the Labour Day long weekend.

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