Raptor refuge opens at Fontenelle Forest

Posted at 3:16 PM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 20:57:18-04

A new area of Fontenelle Forest opening this weekend is dedicated to birds of prey. Upfront at 4 reporter Lindsey Theis got a first look as members saw the new area Friday.

The project is more than three years and over two million dollars in the making. In total, seventeen raptors are housed in thirteen different structures, each one specially designed for them. Barred owls, falcons, and hawks all too sick or injured to be returned to the wild, but still living out life.

The animals have been adjusting to their new homes for six weeks before Friday's opening, staff says. Many of them were comfortable front and center, starring back at the humans taking their pictures.  The refuge is part of Fontenelle's raptor recovery program.

"In Elmwood, Nebraska we have a magnificent facility where there are probably about 70 volunteers from across the state of Nebraska and even some in western Iowa that identify injured ill or orphaned raptors and bring them to our care center," Executive Director Merica Whitehall said.

The raptor refuge is free with admission and to Fontenelle Forest members. The forest is open from 10-5 both Saturday and Sunday and open to the public.