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.
SOAR celebrated 15th Anniversary
Thank you to all who attended or wanted to attend (and were there in spirit)! We had folks attending from out-fof-state -- Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. It was great to connect with old friends and make new friends.
SOAR and osprey reintroduction in 2014
SOAR volunteers went to northern Minnesota on 14-15 July to bring back young osprey for release in Iowa. No more than seven birds will be collected under a US Fish & Wildlife Service permit. Birds will be placed at hack towers at Swan Lake State Park in Carroll County and in Clear Lake. As always, special thanks to Allete / Minnesota Power lineman and their supervisors and Pat Schlarbaum with Iowa DNR for his assistance! Learn more about SOAR's involvement with the osprey reintroduction project here. Photos below from the 2014 collection event.
**7/15 Update - three younger and three older osprey arrive with Terrie late last night! Thanks to Terrie and Tyler for helping out! Three of the osprey will go to the Clear Lake tower after wormed, received a West Nile vaccination, and make sure they are eating good.
**7/18 Update - All osprey ears have been checked and no maggots! They have a few feather lice, but not bad... all have been treated with ivomectin. The three older / bigger osprey are contained in one area and the three younger have been moved today to their own small space.
**7/26 Update - With Terrie's help, the older three osprey chicks were delivered to the hack tower in Clear Lake!
**8/2 Update - Ron Andrews reports that all is well with the Clear Lake osprey. Ron is a retired Iowa DNR biologist and is the project coordinator in charge of that hack tower.
**Mason City Globe Gazette coverage from 8/2/14 - Operation Osprey
** Iowa DNR press release Osprey Nesting in Iowa
**8/2 Update - The three younger osprey are ready to be moved to the hack tower at Swan Lake State park.
**8/4 Update - Moving day for the younger osprey to Swan Lake State Park. They are all settled in! The tower has nice shade and a good breeze today. These young osprey will be fed here and here is where they will test their wings and make first flights. Where a young bird learns to fly tends to be where they nest. The osprey will be fed and watered daily. The doors on the hack tower will remain closed until they are ready for that first flight attempt. They will continue to be provided with food and water as they learn how to fly and become proficient hunters. This supplemental feeding will continue until the osprey have left the area on their first migration to Central or South America.
**8/14 Update - Vic reports that all three at Swan Lake State Park are doing great! The "runt" still needs banded as he was too small to band during collection and will be banded before the gates are opened on the tower.
**8/20 Update - Project band identification letters for this year are: BV, TP, and BS. Social commentary aside... these three will soon all be ready to have the hack tower gates open! We want a nest structure to be in place (as a target landing for their maiden flights) before we open the gates.
**8/29 Update - The gates at the Swan Lake State Park hack tower are open and maiden flights have begun! Pictures below from the day!
**9/1 Update - Two osprey on the tower this morning.
**9/5 Update - Carroll County Conservation employees finished erecting the nesting structure and it appears the osprey were circling as they worked... as if impatiently waiting for a spot to land!
**9/22 Update - The three osprey hacked from the Swan Lake State Park hack tower are out and about… only seeing one osprey at a time. The osprey with the leg band ‘BC’ was seen on the nest platform on 9/22. Vic is still feeding and will continue to do so until no osprey are seen at or near the lake and the fish are not being eaten. These young osprey will hook up with other migrating osprey and head south. While adult osprey will return to the nesting territories next spring, the young-of-the-year osprey will not make the northbound migration for another 22 months.
Fish needed! Feeding carp is a win-win as the carp can easily overwhelm a fishery; carp are an invasive species and the carp provide the food needed for our education osprey and the osprey for reintroduction at the Swan Lake State Park hack tower! (The eagles will eat carp, too!)
Only fish caught with non-toxic tackle or by bowfishing are acceptable -- carp are good, other fish acceptable as well. Please follow all fishing rules and regulations, and remove all hooks and tackle. Freeze the fish, then contact us!
Since 1997, 291 ospreys have been released at twelve sites in Iowa. Since 2003, 134 wild ospreys have been produced at 80 successful nests. Wild hatched osprey may be banded as part of the reintroduction effort and receive a green project band on their left leg and a USFWS silver band on the right leg. In 2013, 18 nesting pairs had 14 successful nest attempts with 29 young produced.
Female Y8 (she was hacked at the Lake Red Rock tower in 2006) along with a mate that fledged three young on a cell tower nest near Des Moines in 2014 will be included in this year's statistics.
Last year folks told us they saw Y8 with an Iowa-hatched male (the bird was wearing a green band). This year, we have pictures of her with another bird that could also have been hacked from the Lake Red Rock Tower, we just can't confirm his Iowa band letters (purple band). Thanks to B Manning and C Hansen for watching Y8 this summer, sharing their photos, and helping us figure out the mystery of who is with Y8! After looking at several pictures, we're fairly sure the project band is a faded purple band CN. That osprey was hacked from the tower at Don Williams Park near Boone, IA in 2006.
Sculpture wins big for artist!
Jennifer Felton used SOAR's education short-eared owl as a study model for her wood carving. Here's what she had to say after a recent competition she entered, "I ribboned which is an accomplishment at the world level for sure! I moved up to the professional level for the first time. Most of the carvers at that level have been carving for 20-30 years. It was stiff competition. I was pleased to have received an honorable mention (so I took 4th out of 12)."
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!
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, 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.
- Learn about the effective 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!
- 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
- 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.
How about planting a seed with your local power company and giving them the "Raptors at Risk" video... order here!