In the cooler months at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, birds of prey show off their beauty and power in an exciting presentation called Raptor Free Flight.
The birds spend time resting and molting over the hot summer months, but that means extra preparations are necessary when fall comes around.
"We have to get them from being couch potatoes all summer to being athletes again," said Wally Hestermann, curator of special collections and raptor trainer at the museum.
Visitors often ask how trainers and volunteers train raptors to flap, soar, and dive in open desert without straps or restraints.
"It's everything we do. It's the relationship we have with them from day one," Hestermann said. "It's predictable food... It's shelter, it's water, it's getting a chance to come out and advertise their territory."
The program relies on volunteer help. Five volunteers a day or 35 a week, 8 narrators, two full time trainers and one seasonal trainers coordinate their efforts.
"Raptor Free Flight is a family, and they get really in involved in it," Hestermann said.
Audience members can see a great horned owl, prairie falcon, and a family of Harris's hawks as well as many other species found in Arizona.
This year, two juvenile Harris's hawks will be added to the afternoon presentation.
Presentations are at 10 a.m. and 2p.m. daily.