Birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures, have a vital role in our ecosystem. Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery is focused on the conservation of these birds through education, research, and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors.
About Our Work With Raptors
We see more than 600 birds of prey in need of immediate assistance every year.
These birds come to us from an area spanning every corner of Nebraska and parts of western Iowa. What’s highly important here is that at this stage we are not alone in our efforts. We depend on individuals—a dedicated network of volunteers across the entire state—to receive phone calls at all hours of the day and night and then drive countless miles, first to the injured bird and then back to our trauma care unit. We also work with other organizations across the state to facilitate the program, and we rely on concerned citizens to report the injured raptors. If you have found a bird in need of assistance, please visit this page for more information on what to do next.
Birds are evaluated immediately upon arrival to our trauma care unit.
Trained rehabilitators and veterinarians provide treatment, medication, and surgery if needed. Some patients may take a few days to mend; others might take months or even years.
A bird is considered healthy again when it is in ideal feather condition, demonstrates keen flight abilities, and can recognize and catch food.
It is then banded and released back to the wild near where it was found.
Even after treatment and months of rehabilitation, a raptor might be unable to fly or hunt due to a variety of factors and cannot be released.
Non-releasable birds are channeled into breeding programs, recruited as “foster parents” for young orphans, utilized in research, or join our roster of educational birds for outreach and education programs. Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery reaches 20,000 people each year during our live raptor programs.
Raptor Woodland Refuge
Thirty feet above the forest ﬂoor is where we are. This canopy-level exhibit is designed according to the natural habitat of the rescued birds housed within these mews.
These are not ordinary enclosures; these are homes. These owls, hawks, falcons and other species are birds of prey that can no longer survive in the wild. But they can provide us with their experiences, so we can know more about this important part of nature. Each visit is its own unique adventure, its own story, its own memory to share.
Raptor Woodland Refuge is located at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center. Raptor Woodland Refuge is open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center.
1. Red-tailed Hawk
2. Ferruginous Hawk
3. Great Horned Owl
4. Barn Owl
5. Swainson’s Hawk
6. Peregrine Falcon
7. Turkey Vulture
9. Rough-legged Hawk
10. American Kestrel
11. Eastern Screech-Owl
12. Barred Owl
13. Eagle Mew
Looking for a unique gift – for a birthday, baby shower, or graduation gift? Sponsor a raptor and your gift also provides support to the Forest! Find a sponsorship that matches someone’s love for birds, and let them know this gift supports the refuge and all of our efforts for raptors. Click Sponsor a Raptor below for more information.
If you find an injured or downed raptor, please call our toll free rescue hotline: (866) 888-7261. Select the region of Nebraska where the raptor is located. Please leave a voicemail if the call is not answered and we will respond as quickly as possible. You may also contact the nearest Nebraska Games & Parks Conservation Officer, your local Humane Society, or local law enforcement. Found an animal other than a raptor?
Want to learn about how your school, organization, or club can invite some Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery educational birds to visit? Our trained staff and volunteer presenters are experienced in tailoring presentations to a wide variety of audiences and group sizes.
To find out more information about educational programs, please fill out the form below or call 402-731-3140.
Volunteer with Raptor Recovery
We are always looking for assistance with our Raptor Recovery team. Whether you are interested in transporting injured birds of prey to us for help, want help clean the recovery center, or have more specialized skills, please email email@example.com and someone will get back to you shortly about opportunities.