Saving Our Avian Resources (SOAR) is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1999 dedicated to saving our avian resources through raptor rehabilitation, education, and research. SOAR maintains all necessary US Fish & Wildlife Service and Iowa DNR permits to provide the rehabilitation and education.
- Establish a regional raptor rehabilitation facility to serve western Iowa.
- Use personal connections with individual, wild animals to bring attention to important natural resource conservation projects and issues.
- Conserve habitat, conduct needed research, and provide educational opportunities.
One piece of the SOAR mission is to provide education. With help from our 'educational ambassador team,' SOAR educators talk with all ages of people about raptor biology, habitat conservation, natural resource issues, and the rehab and research work of SOAR.
Most groups and organizations are able to provide the suggested donation / fee for these programs, but not all. Some groups requesting a program have no or very limited funds themselves and are just the type of group we WANT to speak with -- college student clubs (we hope some of the students will be the next group of environmental leaders) and public events.
SOAR also has opportunity, from time to time, to present our eagles and lead research to other natural resource professionals - these opportunities mean WE pay. Your help can help us share that research!
SOAR has a dedicated fund that we can use to help provide programs. The "well" is currently dry. Interested in adding to this fund? Click here to learn more!
SOAR featured on IPTV Iowa Outdoors Episode #305
Iowa Public Television videographer Chris Gourley spent time in the field and at SOAR filming for this segment... we can't wait to see it. Broadcast of this episode begins October 25 and runs through November 23. Click here for the IPTV schedule for this show.
Remember -- protected predators keep the balance!
Unfortunately it's that time of year when we can see red-tailed hawks admitted with what are likely gunshot wounds. See photo right of a bird admitted 30 October 2012 >>>.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and state laws make it illegal to kill, capture, possess, harass, or harm any bird of prey. Violations are punishable by fines of $5,000 to $250,000 or more, jail sentences, confiscation of possessions, and revocation of licenses.
Red-tailed hawks are the most regularly seen, large, sit-and-hunt, small mammal predator. They seem to be everywhere in the fall as young disperse and northern birds move in to take advantage of open hunting ground. This changes by late February. The resident nesting pairs clean house by chasing all other hawks out of their territories.
Don't get caught believing that hawks are eating all the game birds! Did you know that 75% of red-tailed hawk's diet is made up of small mammals like rabbits, mice, rats, and ground squirrels?
- Download a 2-page PDF on how raptors help "keep the balance."
Research paper on non-toxic ammunition product availability, price, effectiveness published
The product availability and retail prices of different calibers of lead-free bullets and center-fire rifle ammunition were compared to lead-core rifle ammunition were compared. Product effectiveness was also reviewed. Paper from 2012. Download paper. (292 KB PDF)
Lead from spent ammunition: a source of exposure and poisoning in bald eagles
Researcher from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center and the University of Calgary conducted a case-control study of 1,277 bald eagles admitted to TRC between January 1996 and December 2009. The study sought to determine whether epidemiological data would support the hypothesis that a possible source of lead exposure for bald eagles was lead-based ammunition used for deer hunting. Statistical evidence relates spent lead from ammunition to lead exposure and poisoning in eagles. Also, the study shows an association between eagles with elevated lead levels and deer hunting season.
- Read the study report in the journal, Human Wildlife Interactions Spring 2012 issue (461 KB PDF)
Human-made hazards abound
It's difficult being a wild creature in the human landscape. Dangers lurk around every corner and navigating them is a challenge. Look out your window and you're likely to see at least a couple hazards for our furred and feathered friends. SOAR admits most patients because of human-bird interaction that has gone wrong -- shotgun pellets in the bird, bird being hit by a vehicle, bird's nest tree cut down, and birds eating spent lead hunting ammunition just to name a few.
Many of these interactions can have a better outcome with a bit of intervention.
- Bird safe power poles - Raptor Resource Project blog 11/26/12, scroll down just a bit to get to the entry on the 26th.
- Perch plans for bird safe power poles on Flickr
How about planting a seed with your local power company and giving them "Raptors at Risk" video... order here!
Below is the summary of all patients admitted during 2012 and the releases and transfers of patients regardless of when they were admitted.
166 patients received by species:
We hope that the outcome for each and every one is to return to the wild, but that is sadly not the case. Here are the happy results:
11 Transfers to appropriate USFWS permit holders:
Iowa wildlife rehabilitators are collecting data on all admitted eagles (alive and DOA). These facilities include: Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project, MacBride Raptor Project, SOAR, and the Wildlife Care Clinic.
For calendar year 2012, 49 eagles admitted:
- 44 of these were tested for lead
- 32 of the 44 showed lead exposure or poisoning as revealed through blood, liver, or bone testing
- 26 of the 32 were DOA, died, or were euthanized
- 5 of the 32 were released
- 1 of the 32 is still in rehab
- 12 of the 44 showed normal lead levels
- 7 of the 12 were DOA, died, or were euthanized
- 5 of the 12 were released
- 5 were not tested
- 4 of the 5 were DOA, died, or were euthanized
- 1 of the 5 was released