Iowa Raptor Project (IRP) | Recreational Services

About the Project

The mission of the Iowa Raptor Project is to connect students and community to the conservation of birds of prey and their natural habitats through research and education opportunities. IRP is a jointly sponsored program of University of Iowa Recreational Services and Kirkwood Community College. We achieve our goal to preserve raptor populations and habitats through educational experiences that awaken awareness, nurture appreciation and inspire action, as well as through field research on raptor nesting habitats, migration routes, and wintering grounds.

On June 1, 2016, the Macbride Raptor Project changed its name to the Iowa Raptor Project to better represent the scope of our work and our new vision to focus on research and education. You can learn more about the changes on our blog.

The Raptor Center currently displays 17 unreleaseable birds of prey historically found in Iowa. The Raptor Center is open to the public and we welcome visitors! 

Stay in the loop with our monthly e-newsletter, The Raptor Review. Sign up here and select "Iowa Raptor Project" as your program of interest.

Helping an Injured Raptor

If you find an injured raptor, please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. A full list of rehabilitators in Iowa can be found here: PDF iconwildliferehab.pdf 

Hours

April - October
6:00am - 8:00pm, daily

November - March
9:00am - 6:00pm, daily

During these times, we are open for self-guided tours.  We also offer guided tours for a small fee. Learn more about guided tours here.

Dogs are not allowed at the Raptor Center. A hitching post is provided for your convenience. As much as we love our furry dog friends, they are stressful for the raptors. Thank you for understanding!

Address

Visit us at and mail things to: 

Macbride Nature Recreation Area
2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE
Solon, Iowa 52333

How to find us: turn into the Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA) on Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE and follow the signs for about 2 miles to the Raptor Center parking area. The Raptor Center is located past the gate down the gravel road, about a quarter mile. 

Education

We provide both on-site and traveling educational activities. Through our educational programs, we promote an understanding of Iowa’s native raptors, their habitats and needs, and the interdependence of all organisms. Learn more about our raptors and how you can schedule a guided tour here.    

Research

IRP is focusing on three aspects of Iowa raptor populations in order to assess habitat needs and population trends in our native raptors.  

  1. Monitoring winter raptor populations and discerning habitat needs for wintering raptors.
  2. Monitoring nesting raptor populations and determining habitat needs through urban, suburban, rural landscapes.  
  3. Monitoring migrating raptor populations through counts and banding projects.  

For those interested in participating in these projects, call 319-624-7178 or email Shawn Hawks.

Help us soar

Share in the rewards of the Iowa Raptor Project and our goal to inspire awareness, appreciation and action on behalf of Iowa’s raptors by donating to Iowa Raptor Project or adoption one of our raptors.

Volunteer

We couldn't do what we do without volunteers! Our volunteers do everything from  feeding to cleaning and helping with programs. Learn how to get started.

Family Day

Join us the first Saturday of every month for Family Day! Meet our raptors, play games, make arts n' crafts, and munch on some snacks. Free and open to the public.

Contact Us

NameTitleEmailPhone
Shawn Hawks
Assistant Director, Outdoor Recreation & Education
Laura Semken
Coordinator, Outdoor Recreation & Education