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Iowa Raptor Project (IRP)

About the Project

The Iowa Raptor Project is devoted to the preservation of Iowa's birds of prey and their natural habitats. It is a jointly sponsored program of University of Iowa Recreational Services and Kirkwood Community College. We achieve our goal to preserve Iowa’s 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.



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.



The 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.


Interested in adopting one of our raptors? Learn how you can help support Iowa Raptor Project here.

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


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!


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. 

Contact Us

Name Job Title Email Phone Number
Shawn Hawks Assistant Director, Outdoor Recreation & Education 319-624-7178
Laura Semken Coordinator, Outdoor Recreation & Education 319-624-7178