All About Raptors


Raptors, or birds of prey, are birds that are adapted for aerial hunting. The word "raptor" comes from the Latin raptor, meaning "robber." All raptors share the following three features:

  • Sharp, curved beak for tearing food
  • Keen eyesight for spotting prey from a great distance
  • Powerful talons for seizing and killing prey


Raptors are keystone species that play a critical role in ecosystems across the world. Communities depend on each other in a delicate balance, and raptors help keep our local ecosystems in balance.

We have selected eight raptor species to highlight this summer through educational videos of their training protocols and adaptations. Seven of the birds featured in our videos are educational birds, all of which are designated non-releasable. Three of the birds are ACES' resident educational birds, four are from Nature's Educators, an education wildlife outreach organization based in Sedalia, Colorado, and one is a resident nester of the Roaring Fork Valley.

ACES is a nonprofit environmental education organization and has the required live possession  and rehabilitation licenses from US Fish & Wildlife and Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Our Hallam Lake location in Aspen, Colorado is home to three previously injured, non-releasable birds of prey. Whether you're in Aspen this summer or joining us remotely, we invite you to learn about a few of our favorite aerial predators and their adaptations!

Register for a Birds of Prey Program

Explore videos and facts of the eight raptors below!

Want to know more? Click on these links for additonal resources:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Macaulay Library
Audubon Guide to North American Birds
Consent-based training information from the Carolina Raptor Center
Bald Eagle Information