DECATUR, Ill. — A raptor center in Illinois soon will have rehabilitation space for injured birds of any size.

The Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur is building a Super Flight, a 16 feet wide, 17 feet high, 400 feet long space for birds of prey to regain their soaring heights and hunting skills, the Herald & Review ( reported.

Partition doors can create seven separate flights or be left open to allow birds to use the entire flight. A natural floor and slight openings in the ceiling and walls will allow nature to infiltrate, helping the birds acclimate to the outdoors again.

Program director Jacques Nuzzo designed the flight. Ameren Illinois supplied utility poles, and Phillips Construction built the frame. Sullivan-based Westside Buildings is completing the work.

Nuzzo said he marvels at how hard and fast they work.

“Originally, it was supposed to be one flight,” he said.

The flight being used now is a barn. It will continue to serve barred owls, while the new flight will be used for larger birds.

Nuzzo said that before the new flight, large birds were taken outdoors for practice flights with hoods and leads used to train falcons. That stressed out the birds without giving them the sustained flight necessary to build muscle and control.

“I don’t think we could have pulled this off 20 years ago,” Nuzzo said. “This is the culmination of 20 years of rehab.”

Information from: Herald & Review,

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