Iowa Raptor Project (IRP) | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa
Macbride Nature Recreation Area, the Iowa Raptor Project, and the campsites will remain closed to public access (walking and vehicular) through the remainder of fall 2020 due to storm damage that took place on August 10, 2020. An opening date for spring has not yet been determined at this time.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing by UI MNRA Land Management, UI Landscaping, Certified ISA Arborists, and UI Institutional Roads. Cleanup includes:

  • Repair of roads due to uprooted trees. 
  • Removal of fallen trees which pose a risk to users and structures.
  • Repair of walking/cross country ski trails due to uprooted and fallen trees.
  • Identify and mitigate damage to trees which can be saved, including those of historic nature. 

Select Recreational Services-approved programming may take place during this time.

Iowa Raptor Project staff are regularly caring for all birds of prey.

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.

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 iconWildlife Rehab 

Hours

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. Learn more about guided tours here.

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!

Location

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. 

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 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.

Volunteer

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 this 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:

Family Day events are postponed until further notice.

Contact Us

NameTitleEmailPhone
Ryan Anthony
Director, Iowa Raptor Project