About Us

It’s not just about the birds…it’s about the humans too!


Organization’s History

Carolina Raptor Center (CRC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded by Dr. Richard Brown in 1975, when he treated an injured Broad-winged hawk while teaching at University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). CRC became incorporated six years later, in December 1981, as “Carolina Raptor Rehabilitation and Research Center.” Dr. Brown, alongside his cofounder and former student Deb Sue Griffin, admitted 88 birds into the UNCC basement that year. It was not until an administrator witnessed a vulture riding the elevator, that Dr. Brown was asked to find a new home for the Center.

In 1984, the Center moved to its new home on 57 acres inside Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. Thirty-one years later, CRC has grown from treating a single hawk to treating nearly 1,000 injured and/or orphaned eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures each year.

CRC is home of the Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center, one of the world’s largest raptor hospitals that treats injured and orphaned raptors from across the United States. We have released almost 8,000 birds back into the wild and treated nearly 20,000 in our hospital since being an organization.  So far in 2016, we have admitted 643 patients compared to 2015 when we admitted 788 patients.

Goals & Objectives

Mission: Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to the conservation of raptors.

  • Objective I: Promote environmental stewardship through formal and informal education about our environment and the role raptors play in our ecosystem.
  • Objective II: Conserve raptors by nesting orphans, rehabilitating raptors, and releasing raptors into the wild.
  • Objective III: Advance knowledge of avian biology, behavior, and treatment.
  • Objective IV: Offer opportunities for the community to engage with the natural world.

Our Work

Our programs are aligned with our four objectives: environmental stewardship through education, conservation of birds of prey, avian research, and community engagement.

  • CRC offers year-round formal education programs that serve more than 67,000 students a year. Our K-12 education programs include weeklong programs in schools, short workshops, and weeklong summer camps at CRC. These cover STEM topics such as the physics of flight, bald eagle migration, birds of the world, and raptor anatomy.
  • In addition to our K-12 programs, we also offer RaptorVet medical internship and externship programs. We host eighteen veterinary externs per year in addition to eight interns. In the Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center, we conserve birds of prey by rehabilitating injured raptors, renesting orphaned birds, and releasing them back into the wild.
  • Our Medical Center is also committed to advancing knowledge of avian biology, behavior, and treatment. Much of this research is available through our online bird directory or in our veterinarian Dave Scott’s book, Handbook of Raptor Rehabilitation.
  • CRC’s visitor experience programs provide community members access to unique interactions with raptors through exhibits and various programs for people of all ages and reach more than 600,000 people annually. Our community engagement programs include onsite programs, like our Raptor Trail, and digital programs, like the WCNC EagleCam. We are committed to engaging local businesses and individuals in the natural world, and offer events throughout the year such as our sustainability series, Sustainability Salon, and Eats, Beaks, and Brews, our weekly summer event offering local music as well as local food and beverage.

Organization Structure

For the past 35 years, Carolina Raptor Center has been dedicated to conserving birds of prey. Our Senior Medical Coordinator, Mathias Engelmann, has been with us for 33 of those years and has helped rehabilitate over 19,500 birds. One of our biggest strengths is the passion and dedication of our staff. In addition to our 15 full-time and 8 part-time employees, we are also supported by 133 active weekly volunteers, 161 transport volunteers, 8 annual medical interns, and 18 annual veterinary externs.


Visit us:
6000 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC 28078

Mailing address:
PO Box 16443
Charlotte NC 28297