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.
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, print, and share Protected Predators Keep the Balance brochure (2.4 MB PDF)
Encourage steel / non-toxic shot for dove hunting
Dove hunting season started on September 1 here in Iowa and runs through November 9. Please encourage hunters to use steel shot. Research shows that, when lead shot is used for dove hunting, as many doves die from ingesting lead and lead poisoning as are harvested (3% of the population). Approximately, 17 million doves are harvested in the United States each year which means another 17 million die from lead poisoning.
What happens when a dove shot with a lead shot-shell does not die or is not retrieved... that dove might get eaten by another bird. Cooper's hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, peregrines, and kestrels will hunt doves and even eat doves found dead. This x-ray, taken postmortem, of a Cooper's hawk admitted in 2012 shows a pellet in the digestive tract. Upon necropsy... it was confirmed as a lead pellet. This hawks blood lead level was greater than 0.65 ppm.
Please use steel host / non-toxic shot when huntingupland game birds so that poisoning of non-target animals does not happen.
Remember that SOAR supports ethicakl and non-toxic hunting.
Click here to download a copy of the 2015 Iowa Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations.
I've found an injured...
"Stuff" happens and sometimes the wildlife parents and young become separated -- sometimes this is normal -- but how do you know. Check out these links to learn more!
- National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association - Help I've Found a Baby Bird
- National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association - Help I've Found a Baby Mammal
- Sometimes we find birds that are not babies - What should I do if I find an injured raptor in Iowa?
- Learn more about Raptor Rehabilitation
- Contact your local county conservation board or Iowa DNR Conservation Officer to locate the nearest wildlife rehabilitator.
If you still need help, call SOAR at (712) 830-6116 and we'll help you find the nearest rehabilitator.
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, in fact your window could be a hazard.
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, birds colliding with large windows or high-tension wires, birds swallowing lead tackle or fishing hooks, birds being electrocuted, and birds eating spent lead hunting ammunition just to name a few.
Many human-wildlife interactions can have a better outcome with a bit of intervention.
- Learn about the effectivenrss of nonlead ammunition (particularly copper) and share your knowledge with hunters. Here's a short video from our friends at Hunting With Nonlead talking about making the switch! Visit this page for more info, too!
- Find out whether your utility has an avian protection plan. If they don't, they should consider adopting one. An APP helps keep animals, equipment, and people safe. Learn more about the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee and avian protection plans here.
- Bird safe power poles - Raptor Resource Project blog 11/26/12, scroll down just a bit to get to the entry on the 26th.
- Utility installs insulators to 'eagle-proof' power lines - Cedar Rapids Gazette posted 10/25/2015
- Perch plans for bird safe power poles on Flickr
- FLAP - Fatal Light Awareness Program has info on how to reduce bird window collisions and yes, the group is from Canada, but collisions are collisions!
- Make your own Acopian Bird Savers to prevent bird collisions with windows.
Raptor viewing etiquette
We should all observe good raptor viewing etiquette, not only during the nesting season, but also during migration and the winter months when many raptors will gather together in good hunting areas.
Remember that raptors are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and bald and golden eagles have additional protections under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
- Respect landowners and do not trespass.
- If you see raptors on the ground, do not approach or feed.
- USFWS mandates safe viewing of bald eagle nests of at least 330 ft away.
Looking for a non-toxic ammo gift for your favorite hunter?
Not sure what to get? First, find out what the caliber or gauge of their favorite firearm and then check that against what is available! Does your hunter reload their own cartridges? Not to worry, non-lead bullets are available, too.
Download this list of non-lead hunting bullets and ammunition that not only lists what is available by manufacturer but also lists great websites to purchase on-line.
Here's a short video from our friends at Hunting With Nonlead talking about making the switch!