Habitat Hollow Closures: Habitat Hollow will be closed 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM from Monday, June 10 through Friday, June 14.

Habitat Hollow Closures: Habitat Hollow will be closed 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM from Monday, June 10 through Friday, June 14.

Raptor Program

Birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures, have a vital role in our ecosystem. Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor program is focused on the conservation of these birds through statewide raptor education programs, both on- and off-site, including in our raptor woodland refuge.
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About Our Work With Raptors

The Raptor Team

Fontenelle Forest has a team of dedicated employees and a network of volunteers, who feed and care for the many raptor ambassadors that call the Forest home.

Raptors require full-time care involving everything from weighing and inputting their food intake into a tracking database, to training educational birds to go on outreach programs, to cleaning and maintaining their enclosures.

Statewide Raptor Education

All of the raptors who live at the Forest are non-releasable due to a variety of factors, many involving previous injuries. These birds would not survive on their own and cannot be released.

Some of these non-releasable birds have joined our roster of educational birds for outreach and education programs. Our team of employees and volunteers travel to schools, nursing homes, and other groups to provide raptor outreach programs and in-person raptor appearances, with the goal of educating current and future generations about raptor education and conservation. They also hold live raptor programs for school field trips, birthday parties and other events. The Fontenelle Forest Raptor Program reaches 20,000 people each year during our live raptor programs.

Book an Outreach Program

Raptor Woodland Refuge

Thirty feet above the Forest floor, visitors will find a canopy-level exhibit designed according to the natural habitat of the rescued birds that are housed within these mews.

These are not ordinary enclosures – these are homes. Although these birds of prey can no longer survive in the wild, they can provide us with their experiences and help educate the public about this important part of nature.

We invite you to visit these magnificent birds of prey, read their stories, and learn the simple steps you can take in your daily life to become an advocate for raptor conservation.

The Raptor Woodland Refuge is located at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Raptor Stories

All of the raptors in our care are not able to live on their own for a specific reason. Sadly, many of their stories involve interactions with humans that ultimately rendered them non-releasable. Just a few examples are getting struck by a car, being illegally shot, or becoming sickened as a result of ingesting particles from a lead bullet.

Although no longer able to survive on their own, these magnificent birds can still serve a very important role as raptor ambassadors, teaching visitors about the importance of raptor conservation.
This is why we share their stories. We strive to educate visitors about the many dangers that birds of prey face and how they can help raptors live long, safe and healthy lives in their natural habitats. 



Turkey Vulture
Found: 2015, Lincoln, NE
Helios had a badly broken wing that did not heal properly, which resulted in partial amputation. This injury would make it difficult to sustain flight over open country, woodlands, and farmlands in search of carrion, as Turkey Vultures normally do. Because these birds are often seen soaring through the air, Helios is named for the personification of the sun in Greek mythology, a titan who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day.


Ferruginous Hawk
Found: 2015, McCook, NE
Mesa was brought to a rehab facility on Christmas Eve with her wing badly broken. After receiving treatment from a veterinarian, the bone was pinned. Despite this, part of her wing had to be amputated, leaving her unable to hunt. Today, as an ambassador in the Raptor Woodland Refuge, she helps to educate guests about raptor conservation.

Freedom and Fisher

Bald Eagles
Freedom: 2018, Clarks, NE
Freedom was found emaciated on the ground with a shoulder injury, northeast of Grand Island. After testing, it was clear he had low levels of lead poisoning. After treatment, he is now lead-free but can no longer fully extend his wing.

Fisher: 2018, Omaha, NE
Fisher was found in the Omaha Metro area in 2018, unable to fly. He suffered an illegal gunshot to the tip of his wing, which had to be amputated. He spent six months in recovery to regain his strength before moving to the Raptor Woodland Refuge.

Freedom and Fisher lived side-by-side while recovering from their injuries. After six months apart, they were reunited and recognized each other immediately. Fisher and Freedom were found as adults, so we are not certain of their ages. However, we anticipate the two eagles to be roommates for decades.

Support the Raptor Program

There are multiple ways you can support the Raptor Program and the important work being done in statewide raptor education and conservation.


Your gift will support the costs associated with feeding and caring for the raptors, as well as our important work in raptor education and conservation.

Donate Today

Purchase a Raptor gift package

Purchasing a Raptor Program gift package is a fun and unique way to show support for our Raptor Program. It’s the perfect gift for every bird lover!

See Gift Packages


Volunteers are critical to the success of the Raptor Program, as they are to all aspects of Fontenelle Forest’s mission of conservation and education.

Learn more and Apply 

Book an Outreach Program

Are you interested in having our educational raptors or critters visit your school, organization or club? Did you know that in addition to educational raptors, a variety of snakes, turtles and other critters call Fontenelle Forest home? 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.

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Found an injured or orphaned raptor (or other wildlife)?

If you have found an injured or orphaned raptor (or other wildlife) learn what the appropriate next steps are by clicking the button below.


Fontenelle Forest is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit.

Make a tax deductible donation NOW

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