TDEC Announces Grand Opening of Birds of Prey Aviary May 21 at Montgomery Bell State Park

Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 10:58am

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) will hold a grand opening Saturday, May 21 for an aviary for raptors, or birds of prey, at Montgomery Bell State Park. The event at 11 a.m. is free and open to the public. Activities will be at the park office at 1020 Jackson Hill Rd., Burns, TN.

The facility will hold four aviaries, interpretive signage and a walkway to observe the various birds and landscaping. Following the dedication ceremony, the park will have a Birds of Prey program with live raptors including non-releasable hawks, owls and a bald eagle. These birds would not survive in the wild. Other activities at the event include hikes and a reptile program.

“This will be a great addition to Montgomery Bell State Park,” said Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC. “Our state is home to magnificent birds of prey, and this facility puts a special focus on them. Our state parks have a wide variety of programs, and birding is an important part of that. We hope people of all ages will visit to see and learn about the birds here.”

“This will be a family event, and we hope to see visitors of all ages,” said Tim Wheatley, park ranger at Montgomery Bell. “It’s a great way to inform the public and offer another reason to continue visiting the park. We’re grateful for all those who helped develop this facility.”

The aviary was built thanks to generous donations from the Friends of Montgomery Bell State Park. Donations from a “My TN State Park” fundraiser led to the purchase of benches for a new outdoor education classroom.  

Snacks and drinks will be offered at the event.