Iowa Raptor Project (IRP) | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

About the Iowa Raptor Project

The mission of the Iowa Raptor Project is to connect students and the community to the conservation of birds of prey and their natural habitats through research and education opportunities. IRP is a jointly sponsored program of the 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 Iowa Raptor Project currently displays 17 unreleasable birds of prey historically found in Iowa. The Iowa Raptor Project 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 the "Iowa Raptor Project" as your program of interest.


Hours of Operation

  • April - October | 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., daily
  • November - March | 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., daily

During these times, we are open for self-guided tours. We also offer guided tours for a small fee (please see below).

Dogs are not allowed at the Iowa Raptor Project. 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!



Visit us at/send mail 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. 

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


Our educational programs are the most important outreach activity of the Iowa Raptor Project. Through education of the public we can promote an understanding of the interdependence of all organisms including raptors and humans.

On-Site Educational Opportunities: 

The Raptor Center displays unreleasable birds of prey that have been documented to be indigenous to Iowa. The Iowa Raptor Project is located at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area (2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd. NE, Solon, IA).

Guided Tours

During the one-hour guided tour, we lead our guests through the raptor display area and tailor our discussion to the needs and interests of our audience.  We also give a short interpretive presentation about unique raptor adaptations. We are an outdoor facility so please dress for the weather. Please have kids bring their own water bottles. Water is available on site from a pump, but there are no drinking fountains. 

  • Fee: $3/person (minimum $150 fee)
  • Guided tours may be arranged by by emailing Ryan Anthony at

Off-Site Educational Opportunities:

Iowa Birds of Prey:

Iowa Birds of Prey is a traveling raptor program. We typically bring two of our educational birds for a 45-60 minute program. This program is interactive with each program tailored to the needs and interests of our audience.  

  • Fee: $250 + .55/mile
  • An Iowa Birds of Prey program can be arranged by emailing Ryan Anthony at


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Recreational Services in advance at ​319-335-9293.


IRP is focusing on three aspects of Iowa raptor populations 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 Dave Conrads.

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.



Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us! Dedicated volunteers are the heart and soul of the Iowa Raptor Project. They include students and staff from Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa, as well as teachers, researchers, retirees, artists, and more. Volunteers are involved in every aspect of the IRP, and are conscientious, dependable, and incredibly giving individuals.


If you are interested in volunteering with us, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form:

Volunteer Interest Form

Current volunteers may log in here:

Volunteer Information Center

Family Day

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

Upcoming events:

Contact Us

Ryan Anthony
Assistant Director of Iowa Raptor Project