Ongoing 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
  • wildlife biologists identify otherwise hard to detect threats to wildlife populations

Examples of current research activities:

  • Lead availability study; jump here to learn more about Eagles & Lead Research
    • an x-ray is scheduled to determine if the bird was shot or has lead fragments within the digestive tract
    • a blood lead level is determined on live birds and once dead, a liver sample is removed and mailed to a diagnostic lab for a lead level test
  • Provide forensic evidence to Iowa DNR conservation officers, upon request, to help prosecute violators

Past research activities:

  • Assisted US Fish and Wildlife Service Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in gathering data for study looking at bald eagle lead exposure.
  • Avian Toxin Study with University of Michigan in cooperation with U. S. Department of Interior
  • Investigation of multiple swans being admitted from the Atlantic, Iowa area in the winter with similar injuries – SOAR helped determine that the power lines near and over their wintering grounds (a quarry pond) were not being seen by the birds.  The Cass County Conservation Board helped to get reflectors put on the power lines and no more swans from this over-winter pond have been admitted!
  • West Nile Virus, in cooperation with The Raptor Center
  • Avian Flu, in cooperation with The Raptor Center
line flappers being installed