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.
Non-toxic hunting success!
Ana's first tom turkey shot with bismuth #6 shot, 3" magnum, 12 gauge. The turkey weighed in at 26 lbs, has two beards and 1.5 inch spurs!
Check this out!
Below are the photos from a white-tail deer that a friend of SOAR shot with a 12-gauge copper slug during this hunting season. The path of the slug was tracked... and the slug went through the near shoulder blade, through the body, through the opposite humerus, and lodged under the skin. Photo at left, you can see the slug just the skin. The middle photo shows the hole made by the slug. The final photo is of the mushroomed slug.
The photos in the slideshow below are from a trail camera focused on a copper muzzleloader slug-shot deer gut pile. This nice safe gut pile! This gut pile was placed out in the open. See the difference between who feeds here and who feeds from Pete's pics below where he put the gut pile under the forest canopy.
Can you identify who enjoyed a non-toxic meal? Encourage all hunters and anglers to hunt and fish lead-free!
Who eats from a deer gut pile?
Thanks to SOAR friend, Pete E., we have the following documentation of what critter might feed on a deer gut pile!
These are highlights of the 468 trail camera photos of critters eating from the gut pile of the deer I shot during bow season on November 20 in Monroe County. Had the camera set to take one still photo every 30 seconds (when activated by something in front of it). This was in the middle of an oak forest, so not highly visible from the air. Set the camera at noon, right after I finished field dressing the deer. I figured whatever came to eat it would be same things that would be eating lead-shot gut piles a week later when shotgun season started.
Below is a summary of what Pete saw on all the photos!
Day 1: Within 8 minutes after I left a juvenile red-tailed hawk came in to feed. An adult redtail showed up 5 minutes later and they both fed till dark. A group of at least 9 crows came in by mid afternoon.
Day 2: Juvenile redtail shows up at dawn, adult redtail by late morning - both feed throughout the day till dark. 5 crows came in to feed about 8:00am.
Day 3: Adult and juv redtail show up by mid morning and feed on and off all day.
Day 4: Juv redtail back at 8:00 am. Coyote feeds for 10 minutes at 8:30 am. Hawk comes back at 10:00am and feeds on and off until mid afternoon.
Day 5: One coyote feeds just after midnight. 2 coyotes feed for about 20 minutes just before dawn. Juv redtail back at 7:30 and feeds all day.
Day 6: One coyote feeds for 5 minutes at 2:00 am. Raccoon eats for 43 minutes at 4:20 am. Mouse hangs out for 3 minutes at 4:30 am (not sure if it's eating anything - but there is corn in the deer stomach). Hawk comes back at 10:30 am and eats on and off until mid afternoon.
Day 7: Raccoon eats for 10 minutes at 3:00 am. Coyote at 6:00 am
Day 8: 2 raccoons and a possum just before dawn
Day 9: Raccoon eats for 5 minutes at 3:40 am. Redtail hawk back just after noon. Coyote eats just before sunset. 3 raccoons eat for an hour in early evening.
Day 10: Raccoon eats at 2:30 am - Pulled the camera just before sunset - nothing left but a bit of hair and some green plants from the stomach.
If you figure the same individuals are showing up day after day, that's a minimum of 2 red-tailed hawks, 9 crows, 2 coyotes, 1 possum, and 3 raccoons that would potentially have ingested lead if this were from gun season. Quite a bit of collateral damage from your hunting trip.... I was surprised to see that birds ate most of it.
To learn more about the effects of lead on ravens (birds similar to crows) and large mammals, download these PDF:
Osprey are returning to Iowa!
The long migration for many Iowa nesting osprey is ending! Osprey have been sighted again at Walnut Woods State Park in Des Moines, Annett Nature Center near Indianola, and in Dickinson County.
Eagle dies from gunshot
A dead bald eagle was retrieved from west of Dedham, Iowa and admitted to SOAR – Saving Our Avian Resources on March 18, 2013. Unfortunately, SOAR receives many patients ‘dead on arrival.’ As with all patients, staff at SOAR do their best to determine the injuries or cause of death. This juvenile eagle weighed 12 pounds and by size is likely a female. This eagle was not underweight and no broken bones could be felt during examination. An x-ray was taken to help determine cause of death.
The x-ray revealed the presence of bright white flecks in the body of the eagle. Those flecks were lead fragments, confirming this juvenile eagle was shot. Even though bald eagles have been removed from the endangered species list, eagles are still protected by two federal laws: The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and The Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Law Enforcement Officers from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish & Wildlife Service are looking for any information folks may have to help them in this investigation. Please call Iowa DNR Conservation Officer, Dan Pauley, at 515-370-0422. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can also call the TIP of Iowa hotline at 800-532-2020. The TIP of Iowa program allows citizens to call and report a violation, and collect a reward without anyone knowing who reported the crime or the information. See their website for details.
It is illegal to hunt, harm, harass, or posses any hawk, eagle, owl, falcon, or vulture. If you know of illegal activity that is or has taken place, you can anonymously report the activity through the Iowa Turn In Poachers hotline.
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. Read paper here.
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.
- Decorah eagle's electrocution wasn't unusual - Des Moines Register 11/28/12
- Bird safe power poles - Raptor Resource Project blog 11/26/12
- 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!
Endow-Bio, Inc., the First National Endowment for Biodiversity
Endow-Bio has a lofty mission to expose the full breadth of our environmental problems, to show there are good-hearted people working to solve these problems who would benefit from more support, and to provide a simple and inexpensive mechanism to provide such support.
Endow-Bio estimates the current fraction of charitable giving in the U.S. that goes to conservation, about 2%, is woefully low and we are trying to do something about that.
Please check out this new organization and support them!
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. Between September 1, 2011 and April 15, 2012:
- 44 eagles admitted
- 34 of these were lead exposure or poisoning cases as revealed through blood, liver, or bone testing
- 28 of the 34 have died
So without lead in the system – we would only have admitted 10 eagles in that same time frame.
Plus one Cooper's hawk with a #7.5 piece of lead shot in her digestive tract – also died from lead poisoning in that time frame.