Friday, February 16, 2024

The North Liberty and Solon Fire Departments responded to a fire at the Iowa Raptor Project during the early morning hours on Friday, Feb. 16.

First responders were dispatched to the location by the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center following a report of a large fire in the area at around 4:24 a.m. 

When first responders arrived on scene, they came upon a fire in four mews (a type of enclosure) at the Iowa Raptor Project property, which is located at 3673 Raptor Ridge Rd NE, in Solon.

The four enclosures were completely lost, as well as the four raptors in them, which included two red-tailed hawks, one Harris’s hawk, and one gyrfalcon. The remaining birds are being closely observed for any signs of distress.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation and a damage estimate is not yet available. 

The Iowa Raptor Project and the Macbride Nature Recreation Area will be closed until further notice.

The University of Iowa Police Department was assisted by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson County Emergency Communications Center, Solon Fire Department, North Liberty Fire Department, and the State Fire Marshal.

About the Iowa Raptor Project

The mission of the Iowa Raptor Project is to connect students and the community to the conservation of birds of prey and their natural habitats through research and education opportunities. IRP is a jointly sponsored program of the University of Iowa College of Education and Kirkwood Community College. They achieve their goal to preserve raptor populations and habitats through educational experiences that awaken awareness, nurture appreciation, and inspire action, as well as through field research on raptor nesting habitats, migration routes, and wintering grounds.

The Iowa Raptor Project typically displays 17 unreleasable birds of prey historically found in Iowa. 

The University of Iowa will continue to provide the highest quality, humane care for all animals engaged in programs at the University of Iowa. The raptors are cared for by licensed Master Falconers, who are committed to their well-being, and are under the oversight of the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the University of Iowa.


Hayley Bruce, Public Information Officer, 319-384-0072