Bay’s Mountain Raptor Tour Review

Bay’s Mountain Park – The Raptor Tour Review

Owls, hawks, vultures, and falcons make for an educational and fun day at Bay’s Mountain

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” » Chinese Proverb

Yesterday we headed into Kingsport to go somewhere we go often, Bay’s Mountain. They offer animal habitats with mountain lions, wolves, river otters, turtles and so much more. There is a Nature Center with a Planetarium too. The Rangers frequently put on shows which we love to attend, especially during the week when the audience is small. This is one of the many unexpected advantages of being a homeschooler. School days at attractions often offer one on one attention and your every question tends to get answered.

This time, we were visiting Bay’s Mountain for the Raptor Tour. All of the raptors are rescues and each has its own story. Some fell out of their nests and were injured as babies. Others were regrettably taken from nests while still in their eggs and imprinted on humans when they hatched. Some were hurt after being hit by cars.  But no matter what brought them to Bay’s Mountain, they are loved now.

Especially Chia the vulture. She clearly has earned the love and adoration of the staff and visitors. The first of many trips to the mountain were taken by car with her volunteer rescuer. We are betting that caused some heads to turn.

“Was that a Vulture in the passenger seat of that car?”

Chia learned to follow everyone around the park and even spent a lot of her time in the front office. She was still a baby and unable to fly but perfectly capable of making friends. Chia is smart!  Her space is filled with toys to keep her entertained. She also receives wild vulture visitors frequently. Everyone loves Chia. You will too!


T and I both fell in love with Yoda the Screech Owl. This tiny little owl gave us his full attention and we learned that he has been there for fourteen or fifteen years. He is kind and forgiving and so the new volunteers all learn how to care for the raptors starting with him. I wanted to get a great picture of him but because this was just a tour the birds remained in their habitats. This may not be a good picture but you can still tell that Yoda is adorable!



Interview with T the next day.

What was your favorite bird?

“The Red Tailed Hawk, the bigger one, Lily! No, wait, the Vulture, Chia! She was so smart! NO, wait, it was Yoda the screech owl for sure. He just looked old and wise and he was so tiny. Definitely, Yoda!”

Tell me four things you learned from the Raptor Tour.

  • A defensive mechanism of the vulture is to vomit on you.
  • Eagles mate for life.
  • When you see vultures flying in a circle they are not circling prey. They are catching a current.
  • I learned about imprinting. When baby birds see a person before the Momma bird they think they belong to the human.

Did you see a bird you did not recognize?

“The Kestral. I remember that it is a small falcon.”

What was your favorite part of the park beside the Raptor’s?

“The wolves. I saw my first white wolf ever. I started thinking more about why they behave the way they do. I saw that they use a lot of body language instead of just howling.”

Would you want to go back to Bay’s Mountain?

“Yes, especially to see Yoda again!”


I can’t close without including this picture! This deer is T’s favorite.  It’s no wonder why. What a beauty!


There is so much to do at Bay’s Mountain. We highly recommend you enjoy some of their tours too. Or visit the Nature Center and learn about their reptiles. Or take a barge ride, you’ll be surprised how much you can learn while out on the water. Ride the Zip Lines! Definitely, visit the Planetarium. You won’t regret it!

Admission to the park is $4.00 per vehicle and they offer classes starting at $1.50 each. You can’t beat that. To learn more about pricing, tours, and classes please visit their site.

Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium | Kingsport, TN

Bays Mountain Park, located in beautiful Kingsport, Tennessee, is a 3,550-acre nature preserve and the largest city-owned park in the state of Tennessee. Offering a variety of features, visitors to Bays Mountain Park can enjoy a picturesque 44-acre lake, a Nature Center with a state-of-the-art Planetarium Theater, Animal Habitats featuring wolves, bobcats, raptors and reptiles, and an Adventure Ropes Course complete with a 300-ft.

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Have you been on one of the tours?  Thoughts and comments are welcome!  Please share in the comments below!

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