Dale Belvedere, manager of the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls, brings Houdini, their resident great horned owl, out to meet visitors at SORCO’s annual open house last year. The open house is this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Western News file photo

SORCO open house Sunday

The annual one-day-a-year open house is Sunday at SORCO

Sunday is the day, the only day.

The SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre is opening its gates to the general public this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for its annual open house.

It’s also a very big day for celebrations at the facility being its 30th anniversary not to mention the 18th birthday for Houdini, SORCO’s resident great horned owl.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year, people respect and appreciate that that’s what we do, they understand why we do it only one day a year and they keep coming back year after year to see what we’ve done in the last year and to celebrate what we’re doing,” said SORCO manager Dale Belvedere, noting the operations permit restricts public access due to potential stress on the recovering birds. “It’s really rewarding for all of the SORCO team to have this one day as well, to give people a chance to see what we do on a daily basis in caring for these birds.”

Along with Houdini, who will have his cake cutting at 2 p.m., visitors will also have a chance to see 10 orphaned great horned owl chicks who are arriving this week at the centre.

Other activities during the day will include an exhibit of how the facility first began and how it has grown over the three decades.

There will be tours of the centre, including the interactive education centre, work of the on-site Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, a barbecue (by donation) silent auction featuring over 100 items, 22 nature and wildlife exhibits, face painting and a balloon artist.

Related: SORCO fundraiser to benefit recovery centre

Every year SORCO takes in about 150 injured and orphaned raptors, one of only two places. The other is wildlife centre in Kamloops.

“We only take raptors and without SORCO, these injured birds we get every year would not be rehabilitated and back to wild, so it’s very important that we’re here to take care of them,” said Belvedere, who took over as manager in March of 2015. “I started with SORCO back in 2007. I had never been around a raptor before and I went to a release. I was just amazed at these birds and I just became a volunteer working with them on a weekly basis. They’re just such beautiful birds and I just love doing it.”

Entry is by donation (all funds go to bird care) and the centre is located at 8965 Hwy. 97, 10 kilometres south of Okanagan Falls.

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