Eight-year-old Lily Westman and her brother, Cooper, 6, were first in line last week, waiting for the doors to open for the "Raptor Factor" show. They were eager to see all of the birds, but hoped to see a bald eagle.
"I want to know how they take care of them," said Cooper, who goes to Cascade View Elementary School.
The show is put on by the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a nonprofit located between Arlington and Granite Falls that rescues, treats and releases wild animals. It's one of the outreach efforts by the center that has been around since 1981.
Last month, the center announced that it was having financial difficulties. The center has an operating budget of about $450,000 a year, but donations have been down. Director Suzanne West said last month the center needed $95,000 to continue to care for animals, keep the doors open and continue their programs.
In the last couple of weeks, however, the center has seen an increase in donations and new donors have also appeared. The shortfall has been reduced to $50,000.
"We are still feeling the crunch," West said. "We have been able to tighten our belts and we have received additional funding."
Jennifer Cutshall, 44, of Snohomish, heard about Sarvey's financial problems. She's hoping that people step up to help out the center. She's seen the raptor show herself. On Friday she brought her youngest son, Isaac Tavares, 4, for the first time.
"It's a good chance to see these birds this close," Cutshall said.
They were about 75 kids, parents, grandparents and others who attended the show and learned about the barn owl, great horned owl, red-tailed hawk and peregrine falcon.
The children asked questions about the birds, such as the length of their wings and how fast they could fly. They were amazed when some of the birds spread their wings.
Most of them gasped when volunteers took out the last bird of the show: a bald eagle named Askate.
Seeing the animal was the favorite part of 5-year-old Kaylee Broome who goes to kindergarten at Machias Elementary School.
"It was so cool," Kayle said.
More about Sarvey
The Sarvey Wildlife Center is located at 13106 148th St. NE, near Arlington.
For more information on the center, including how to donate and what to do if you find an injured or orphaned animal, go to www.sarveywildlife.org/ or call 360-435-4817.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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