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.

Rehab & Release

SOAR provides care for well over 200 birds each year that have been injured or orphaned, primarily from western Iowa. Most injuries are the result of human activities: collisions with cars, windows, power lines, fences, mowers, and effects from pesticides. Other injuries occur from storm damage causing nests to fall or birds to be blown into immovable objects.

With every rehabilitated bird, the key to a release site is appropriate habitat for that bird! We want to give these birds every chance at continued success, so we will not release right before a winter storm or during one of Iowa's blazing hot spells. Most releases are subdued and low-key.

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Education

SOAR's goal is to return all birds to the wild. However, once healed, not all birds are able to survive in the wild and be released because of limitations in their vision or ability to fly. These birds may become part of the 'education ambassador team' here at SOAR.

SOAR provides educational programs featuring their non-releasable birds of prey throughout Iowa thanks to our network of experienced environmental educators. Live bird presentations are effective educational tools that make lasting impressions on any audience.

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Research

As SOAR works to rehabilitate injured and sick birds, data is collected that helps with ongoing research and management practices. Conducting research on patients helps: to prevent future mortality, improve rehabilitation techniques, and can help wildlife biologists identify otherwise hard to detect threats to wildlife populations.

Current research includes collecting data on all eagle admits. Data includes reason for admission, injuries, a blood or liver lead level, an x-ray, and final status.

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transport vehicle

Transport Vehicle Needed

SOAR is looking to add another fuel-efficient transport vehicle to our fleet. Every year, we seem to admit even more patients than the year before and while we need an additional vehicle, a new vehicle is simply out of the question. We’re hoping that someone out there has a reliable SUV or extended cab pick-up

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osprey flies

2016 osprey reintroduction

SOAR once again assisted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Program in collecting young osprey in northern Minnesota for hacking (a special kind of release) in Iowa. SOAR Education Director, Terrie, and SOAR Intern, Trevor were near Brainerd, MN on 11-12 July working with IDNR and the skilled lineman from Allete / Minnesota

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baby barn owl

Barn Owl Nest Sightings Continue

In Iowa, the barn owl is a state endangered species due to a lack of habitat for their prey and for nesting. Since 2012, 20 barn owl adults, hatchlings, and eggs have been admitted. Most admits have come from areas of Iowa with more grassland and nesting habitat (southern Iowa and the Loess Hills region

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Thora on bow perch

Continued training…

Linette Bernard, Communications Director What does it take for a non-releasable raptor to become an education bird? There is much adjustment. Everything for the bird is new. There is much for the handler to learn as well, as each education bird is unique with their own tolerances. Most education birds have a permanent injury, often

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lead symptoms, eagle hanging head

It’s Okay to Poison Bald Eagles, Really?!

Kay Neumann, Executive Director of SOAR I read with dismay the April 17, 2016 letter to the editor in the Des Moines Register from a hunter entitled “Sick bald eagles don’t indicate population-level impacts.”  [This submitted letter was in response to a Des Moines Register editorial on April 2, 2016 – read here.] My family

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young barred owl

Sometimes young birds do need help

Yes, it is always best if the raptor parent(s) raise their young. Knowing when to intervene is difficult. Many patients admitted in the spring and even into the summer are still considered nestlings (hatchlings) and they should still been in their nest but for unknown reason(s) are not. Below are terms that SOAR uses to

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lead-free jig head

Fishing Lead-Free

You know we encourage all outdoor enthusiasts to hunt and fish lead-free and to help you do that, we’re always on the look-out for products! I’m not an angler, so I’ve not tried any of the products out… but you can often find reviews on the company’s website. The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) has an

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I’ve found a baby…

“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! 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

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