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.
Annual SOAR Release Party
SOAR had a great day at the Dale Valley Vineyard. One eagle, two hatch-year Cooper's hawks, and one adult and one hatch-year barred owl were released! See release photos here.
SOAR is having a typical rehab year... but on a more personal note, we've had some lows this year. Kay's friend (and SOAR's go-to-handyman) Colton Pulver lost his life in a car accident at the end of June. Kay, SOAR, and 'raptor nation' lost a friend, advocate, and supporter in Bob Anderson. Bob passed away unexpectedly at the end of July. The Lucas County eagle that was admitted on May 27 with symptoms of a suspected organophosphate poisoning was ready to be released and was done so by Kay, Terrie, and Linette in honor of Colton, Bob, and with thanks to RRP. May she fly well...
Three education ambassadors were on hand, plus folks could make new leashes for our education birds, and enjoy snacks and music! Pictured below is Stella, a taiga phase great horned owl, and Pearl, a Peale's subspecies peregrine falcon. Thanks to our hosts at the Vineyard.
A celebration of a life well-lived
If you were not able to attend the Celebration of Life for Bob Anderson on August 8, see these incredible memories:
- Amy Reis with Raptor Resource Project created this beautiful slide show celebrating Bob's life
- An excerpt from the Decorah Bald Eagle Concerto on YouTube, thank you Ulli Reiner
- Journey vs. Destination: Memories, accomplishments of Bob Anderson will soar on by Lisa Brainerd with The Bluff Country Reader
Another human-hazard with a positive ending
This one involved the rescue of six young barn owls from a grain bin near Guthrie Center, Iowa. The farmer was going to stir the bin full of corn and had seen an adult barn owl exit and enter the bin previously. But then thought he saw more than one flying so he checked inside the bin and found these six. Apparently the access door in the roof had blown open, allowing the pair access to the bin. These young barn owls were rescued on July 20, several were within days of fledging.
The osprey hack tower had already been retro-fitted to hack barn owls that overwintered at SOAR and released this May 23015. A few design improvements and the tower was ready for this batch of six! The older four were placed in the tower and fed there starting July 25. (The access hole was plugged.) The two younger owls were moved on the 29th. Enjoy the video of the six young barn owls in the tower.
Ally "pulled the plug" to the entrance hole on August 3rd and continued to feed. Kay reported on August 12 that she saw a barn owl in the tower and that food was still disappearing.
Links to barn owl box plans... even one that can be mounted to a grain bin!
- Natural Resources Conservation Service - barn owl info and box plan (PDF)
- Nest Box Plans from Iowa DNR (PDF)
- Missouri Department of Conservation - box plan (PDF)
- Barn Owl Box Company - purchase a molded plastic barn owl box from this company
Pictures below courtesy the Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program of a barn owl nest box being attached to the ladder on the cap of the grain bin and a picture of the same bin from afar. Two broods of barn owls were fledged from this farmstead in summer 2015.
Osprey Reintroduction 2015
Kay headed to northern Minnesota on July 12 to meet up with Pat Schlaurbam, Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program, and Bill Fraundorf, who leads the osprey collection for Minnesota Power. Red on the radar kept Kay in St. Cloud for the evening. Indeed bad storms hit the area where many osprey nests can be found. Minnesota Power lineman and crews were busy Sunday evening repairing damage and getting power restored. Needless to say, osprey took a back seat as the usual collection crew from Minnesota Power were sent home to get some sleep.
To learn more about SOAR's efforts to help with the Iowa osprey reintroduction, click to the Osprey page!
The collection crew found several osprey chicks that had died and were still in the nest and others dead on the ground. They also found several nests with only one chick. Those chicks are left to be rasied by their parents. Chicks are only collected from nests with two or more young.
Kay handed one of the lineman her cell phone for a picture from up at the nest, but little did he know he would have a great video of momma osprey defending her nest.
All told Kay brought five young osprey back to Iowa. Ear maggots were removed, all were given wormer for tape worms and any nasal leeches they might have, all were vaccinated against West Nile Virus, and Savanna put on their silver federal bands and purple Iowa project bands!
Four of the five osprey have already been put in the hack tower at Swan Lake State Park in Carroll County. The osprey in the tower have purple bands of: AE, AH, BX, and TY. One young osprey has needed continued care and remains at SOAR.
These osprey were ready to try their first flight and the gates on the tower were opened on July 29, at 9:00 a.m.
**8/27 Update - Three osprey still handing out at Swan Lake State Park... been a few days since BX has been seen. We expect that by mid-September these juveniles will have started their southward-migration.
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 email us!
Thanks to Mitchell for the carp and to Cassie for picking them!
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, birds swallowing lead tackle or fishing hooks, 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.
- 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!