Raptor internship ideal for LHS graduate Shumway

David Peck

When Grace Shumway heard about an internship that involved working with raptors at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, she knew it was perfect for her.

The 2021 graduate of Lovell High School and incoming sophomore at Northwest College is a biology major who will seek a bachelor’s degree in zoology at the University of Wyoming after NWC.

She is working an internship this summer at the Draper Natural History Museum in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West complex training, showing and working with non-releasable raptors – injured birds that would not be able to survive in the wild on their own – for the twice-a-day Raptor Experience.

“We train the birds for the program so we can educate the public about them and why they’re important,” Shumway said. “I knew about the Raptor Experience, but my mom (Lauren) found the internship on the (Draper) website. I realized it was exactly up my alley.”

The work has been rewarding, she said, as she worked to handle each of the birds and understand their personalities.

“It’s building a trusting relationship so you can show them with a glove -- that you’re the best available perch,” she said. “The best way to educate people is with a comfortable animal.”

In the wild a raptor would fly away, but in the Raptor Experience people can see the magnificent birds up close and personal, Shumway said.

“It’s a unique opportunity,” she said. “People really like this attraction.”

It’s not just training, Shumway said. Her work includes food preparation, cleaning and more, with about two hours or training each afternoon.

There are 12 birds at the Draper: a great horned owl, short-eared owl, peregrine falcon, turkey vulture, golden eagle, bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, Eastern screech owl, female American kestrel, male American kestrel, Northern saw-whet owl and a Swainson’s hawk.

The Raptor Experience is presented twice a day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., seven days a week. Shumway works Monday through Friday, and she usually takes the morning show, she said. She will show again this Friday at 10 a.m., and her final shows will be next week with her last day being Friday, Aug. 5.

She will likely show next Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, spending Wednesday presenting the educational Migration Obstacle Course at the Big Horn County
Fair in Basin.