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The Backyard Naturalists podcasts is geared toward nature lovers of all kinds, from beginners to those with more experience. We have a very diverse lineup of topics planned for you, such as  what you can do in your own yard to enhance the habitat for the creatures who live there, participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count as a citizen scientist, using native plants, which snakes live in our area,  how to attract specific birds, common and uncommon raptors in the greater Charlotte region, spring and fall migration season for birds, plants for butterflies and much more!

Jul 16, 2023

Welcome to an exciting episode of The Backyard Naturalists podcast! In this week's installment, Debbie and Laurie have the pleasure of conversing with Kristen Dean, the Director of Avian Operations at Carolina Raptor Center—an esteemed organization known both nationally and internationally. Kristen's journey began in 2005 as a part-time wildlife rehabilitator, and her passion and dedication have led her to her current role.


During the conversation, Kristen provides intriguing insights into the origins of Carolina Raptor Center. The journey began in 1975 when the center's first bird, a broad-winged hawk, was brought to the renowned ornithologist Richard Brown in Charlotte. A few years later, recognizing the need for dedicated care, a makeshift clinic was established in the basement of UNC Charlotte's Biology Building, where six injured birds found refuge. It became evident that there was a pressing need for a specialized facility to help these majestic creatures. Thus, in 1984, Carolina Raptor Center officially became a 501(c)(3) organization and relocated to the beautiful Latta Nature Preserve.


Join us as we delve into the rich history of Carolina Raptor Center, tracing its humble beginnings to its current standing as a leading force in avian conservation and rehabilitation. Kristen's deep knowledge and expertise shed light on the vital work carried out by the center, preserving and protecting our magnificent raptors. Tune in to discover the inspiring stories behind these magnificent birds and the dedication of the team at Carolina Raptor Center.


If you have ideas for topics that you'd like us to pursue, send us a message either on our Facebook page or our website. We would really like to hear from you.



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Please visit and support our presenting sponsor, Backyard Birds at A mecca for bird lovers and bird watchers, Backyard Birds is an independent family-owned business located in Matthews, NC (next to Dairy Queen), just southeast of Charlotte.


Thanks for listening to The Backyard Naturalists.  We hope you have a day filled with the wonders of nature. Get outside and take a walk on the wild side! Please don’t forget to leave a 5-star review for The Backyard Naturalists podcast.


Production services for The Backyard Naturalists podcast are provided by Downtown Podcasting. To start a conversation on how you can have a podcast, simply send an email to


While recording the Backyard Naturalists podcast, Debbie and Laurie enjoy coffee provided by the Good Cup Coffee Company  in Matthews, North Carolina. Follow Good Cup Coffee on Instagram and look for them at the Matthews Community Farmer’s Market  this Saturday morning.