Raptors face numerous challenges in today's world.
Humans worldwide are plowing up habitat at an alarming rate to make room for food and bio fuel crops, as well as urban development. Avian malaria and blood parasites have increased and diseases are spreading geographically. Raptors also continue to suffer trauma injuries from man made obstacles and poisonings on an almost daily basis.
The Raptor Center is in a unique position to decode what's happening in the natural world. Every bird admitted to The Raptor Center provides a clue to the health of the ecosystems we share. It is essential that we understand the challenges raptors face if the natural world is to be protected.
Research—Through research on topics like avian influenza, lead poisoning, West Nile virus, and work in the Galapagos, The Raptor Center is helping us understand emerging health concerns and issues for raptor populations.
Kestrel Watch—Kestrels face many challenges in the wild, and information on kestrel conservation is sparse. Through the Kestrel Watch, The Raptor Center hopes to decode the rapid decline in American kestrel admissions—through the observation and reporting skills of people like you.
Peregrine Falcons—The Midwest Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project, based out of The Raptor Center, aims to ensure the survival of Peregrine Falcons in the Midwest U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes region through scientific research, public education, and field monitoring.
What you can do to help keep birds safe
- Make your windows safer for birds. Bird mortality from window strikes has been recorded in more than half the bird species in the United States. More info: Project BirdSafe.
- Keep cats inside. Keeping cats indoors ensures that birds outdoors stay safe. Cats benefit too— indoor cats live much longer than cats that go outside.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room. The bright lights of nighttime city skylines confuse and disorient migrating birds that need to see the stars to follow their migration routes. Many cities now participate in “Lights Out” programs to remove that obstacle during peak migration periods.
- Enjoy birds from a distance. Birds need space for feeding, nesting, and other daily activities. Approaching too closely may cause them to become nervous and deplete much-needed energy reserves. During the nesting season, it may even result in loss of eggs or young to predators.
- Clean your bird feeders. Dirty feeders can spread disease. Disinfect and clean out old seed from feeders frequently and put fresh water in your bird bath every day.
- Mouse control: If you get mice in your home and decide to use lethal methods of removal, use the old-fashioned snap traps instead of poison to kill them. This prevents other animals—red tailed hawks, for example—from catching a dying mouse and getting a dose of poison themselves. After you have removed or excluded the mice from your house, make sure you find where they are finding access and repair that area to prevent future access.
- Drink bird-friendly coffee and invest in your own coffee cup that you bring to the coffee shop.
- Conserve energy and reduce waste. Try tips like recycling, reducing the use of household chemicals, adjusting your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer, and more. Find some at: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency | U.S. Department of Energy | Quiz: How big is your ecological footprint?