The Raptor Trust’s Third Annual Community Day

Published June 4, 2018 by Maryanne

ZiziZizi, a female American Kestrel (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Note: The following article by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta originally appeared in New Jersey’s Long Hill Leader, June 1, 2018. 

The Raptor Trust’s Third Annual Community Day

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

The Raptor Trust, of Millington, New Jersey, recently held their Third Annual Community Day at Stirling Hotel, Stirling, New Jersey. The day was filled with fun and festivities, including live music from Ross Griswold and the Second Line, with special guests the Raccoon Ridge Ramblers. Booths from community partners and local environmental organizations were featured. There was also family games and activities, a tricky tray, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle. Food and drinks were provided by The Stirling Hotel. Proceeds from the event benefit The Raptor Trust.

Community partners included: Somerset County Parks Environmental Education Center; Friends of the Great Swamp, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Morris County Parks Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center, Delaware Valley Eagle Alliance, and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ.

Christopher Soucy, executive director of The Raptor Trust, said, “People come from all over,” adding that The Raptor Trust is celebrating 35 years.

Educator Kate Matta was showing birds like Penny, a 9-year-old blind Eastern Screech Owl and Zizi, a female American Kestrel. Zizi was found in New York City as a baby. The people who found her fed her baby food, which was a mistake.

“They eat mice and insects,” said Matta. “So, she was not getting proper nutrition. Her growth is stunted.” However, since Zizi was raised around humans, she is totally unafraid of people according to Matta. She added, “Zizi doesn’t know how to hunt. She’s a ‘people bird.’ She’s done this event before. She had no problem with people looking at her and taking pictures.”

Melissa Anahory, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator at Woodlands Wildlife, was teaching children about Tan, an Eastern Box Turtle. “He likes people,” she said. “He doesn’t hide. He’s used to people.” She continued to explain to the kids that a turtle has the shell to hide in.

The Raptor Trust was named and established as a non-profit corporation in the state of New Jersey in 1982.

The next event presented by The Raptor Trust will be a Guided Tour of The Raptor Trust on Saturday, June 30, 2018, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Registration is required. For more information, visit:, call 908-647-2353, or email:

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and book editor/ghost writer. Contact her at: 

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