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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Animal Science: Captive Raptor Management

Dates: July 16-August 5, 2017 (3 weeks)
Credits: 3 credits
Eligibility: current sophomores, juniors, seniors
(see eligibility requirements)
Status: This program is not being offered in 2018


In this program led by Dr. John Parks, you'll learn how to care for and manage birds of prey based on traditional methods as well as modern principles of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine. Through instructors, guest speakers, demonstrations, workshops with live raptors, and field trips you'll:

  • learn about the identification and natural history of raptors;
  • examine the scientific basis and merit of avian husbandry and breeding practices;
  • gain hands-on experience in basic raptor care, management, and handling techniques; and
  • discuss application of captive raptor management and breeding to reducing pressures on wild populations and restoring threatened and endangered species.

Course expectations

Students are expected to:

  • complete the assigned reading (about 20 pages per class period),
  • use the text and field guides online to learn about native and exotic raptors,
  • be engaged in lecture and in lab activities, and
  • take advantage of the extracurricular field trips to whatever extent you wish.


You'll be enrolled in the three-credit course Captive Raptor Management and Propagation (ANSC 2140).

This course meets Mondays through Fridays, 8:30-11:00 a.m., with labs on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00-3:30 p.m.

Maximum enrollment: 24

Note: You may combine this program with a three-week 1 program to create a six-week Dual Program.

Required textbook

Title Author Cost
Raptors in Captivity: Guidelines for Care
and Management
Lori R. Arent $TBD

* The book can be purchased directly from the publisher (Hancock House) or other vendors (Amazon, eBay, etc.).

Special scheduling


  • Monday, July 17: College Admissions Workshop, 2:30–3:45 p.m.
  • Monday, July 24: College Fair, 4:00–6:00 p.m., Statler Hall Ballroom

Checkout dates and times

Before making travel plans, review the checkout dates and times for your program. We strictly adhere to these deadlines.

Program director

Dr. John Parks

Dr. John Parks earned his PhD at Virginia Tech. He is a reproductive physiologist whose teaching and research focused on germ cell biology and assisted reproductive technology at Cornell University. Dr. Parks was the founder and director of the Cornell Raptor Program for over 20 years, promoting raptor conservation through rehabilitation, captive breeding, and public awareness programs. He is a master falconer, raptor educator and breeder, and consultant on the care and management of raptors in captivity.

"Raptors, or birds of prey, capture the imagination perhaps more than any other species of wildlife. My avocational interest in raptors spans nearly four decades as a falconer, rehabilitator, breeder, and educator. I look forward to sharing knowledge and insights about the identification, natural history, and captive care and management of these magnificent birds through this unique summer session offering."
—John Parks

The Raptor Center at Cornell University

Dr. John Parks gives an introduction to the Raptor Center at Cornell University.

Live! Red-tailed Hawk Nest at Cornell University

A Red-tailed Hawk pair has been nesting on a light pole 80 feet above Cornell University’s athletic fields on Tower Road for at least the past four years. In 2012, we installed a camera to get a better look at these majestic birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus. > more

From Raptor Program to Vet School

The Captive Raptor Management program ignited a passion in alumna Sarah Cudney (SC '07) and set her on a career path for vet school. As an undergraduate at Cornell, she served as president of Cornell’s Pre-Veterinary Society and, in her senior year, became a TA for the course that had inspired her. She’s now in her first year in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Read her story in the September 2012 issue of the College’s Pre-Vet Newsletter.

Student experiences

"The course lecture is very informative, and the lab sessions are exciting. Apart from academics, campus life is colorful, with agreeable weather, beautiful scenery, historic architecture, various activities, and delicious food. Summer College is a valuable and memorable experience."

"I appreciated how detailed and specific the lessons were. Classes were organized and fast-paced. Dr. Parks and the assistants were also extremely kind and were always willing to give us advice about school or have a conversation."

"An amazing and enlightening course." — Miles Jack

"The labs provided a lot more hands-on experience than I anticipated. They surpassed my expectations in every way. It was a huge pleasure to experience what I did and meet the people I did. " — Luana Tone

"In my course, I learned in great detail how to handle, train, manage, and care for raptors. I also gained invaluable insight into college life and learned about some of the dos and don'ts of it. I met people who shared my interest in and love of ornithology and made new friends. It was an incredible experience." — Naveen Gooneratne, 2016

"The hands-on work in the barn was an incredibly unique opportunity. Not everyone gets to learn how to handle and manage a live bird of prey!" — Vivien Morosoff, 2015

"I learned a lot during the course. Apart from things that were included in the curriculum, the professor answered many of my questions in lectures and through e-mail. I was also able to go on several field trips and even conduct a public presentation for some adults and children on captive raptor management." — Chan Wai Nam, 2015

"I gained a great experience with the vet program at Cornell. Working with the raptors... that was the coolest thing I have probably ever done. The professor, Dr. Parks, and the TAs had a lot of personal experience with the birds and it was very cool to listen to their stories... they taught very well and, if I had a question, they were always available to answer it." — Joey LaMastro

"At CUSC I gained friendships, confidence, independence, information/knowledge, a taste of a college environment, familiarity with Cornell, and a wonderful summer. My favorite part of the Raptors program was working with the birds during our lab sessions." — Teresa "NiNi" Yue

Student blogs