In the wild, raptors have a huge variety of things to perch on as they hunt and survey their territory. You may have noticed this with birds of prey who live near you as you see them on the same branch, outcropping of rock, or telephone pole. In captivity, the limited perching provided tends to decrease the natural filing of their talons.

If their talons aren't filed down they can start to split and break. To help their resident eagle at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, Director of Wildlife Tish Gailmard and Lead Naturalist Taylor Berry use a Dremel tool to keep the talons in good shape.

While the eagle is safely wrapped Tish and Taylor moved from sharp talons to his sharp beak. Raptors don't have any teeth so they rely on their sharp beaks to tear food apart. Just like talons, beaks must be worn down because they continue to grow. You can think of this just like how our fingernails grow, only this happens much more slowly. If a beak grows too much it can prevent the bird from closing its mouth completely.

It's important to note that neither of these procedures hurt the birds. Just like trimming our fingernails or cutting our hair the bird feels no pain.