Hawk Hill Banding Station

Resource Enhancement and Protection LogoA Conservation Education Program grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources allowed Luther College and the Decorah Raptor Resource Project to build an autumn migration banding station on campus to collect data, provide field-based research opportunities, and deliver environmental education to youth. The banding station, located on Hawk Hill on the northeast edge of the Luther campus, is large enough for classes to observe wild birds, band them, and gather data before releasing em back into the wild.

Falconer Dave Noble designed and built the station with the help of Dave Kester, John Howe, and Amy Ries. Funds from the grant allow us to hire six Luther students and two master banders to staff the station from September 15 to November 15 for 2017 and 2018. It was a wonderful field research experience for the interns, who became proficient at trapping, handling, ID’ing, sexing, aging, and banding wild hawks.

Station Tally For 2017

Red-Tailed Hawk
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Northern Goshawk
Rough-Legged Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk

Number (39 total)

David Kester and Emily Neal, our two principles on the project, delivered our environmental education program to 230 K-12 students in the Decorah area. 70 first and second grade students participated in our Introduction to Raptors module, 135 first through seventh grade students got to Meet and Greet a red-tailed hawk and/or a sharp-shinned hawk, and eight homeschool students and 18 students from the University of Upper Iowa took a field trip to the station, where they were introduced to banding and field research.

We are thrilled to have launched a collaborative environmental education and research program with Luther College, the Upper Iowa University, and Decorah schools thanks to a Resource Protection and Enhancement Grant from Iowa’s Conservation Education Program. Our banding station is increasing the body of scientific knowledge about raptors and other birds in Iowa, giving a science-based environmental education to Iowa students, and creating new conservation volunteers for birds of prey.

Our mission calls on us to preserve and strengthen raptor populations and foster the next generation of preservationists. Our banding station is an essential part of that charge. We are very grateful to the Iowa DNR for funding our program. The Iowa DNR and local conservation boards do a wonderful job protecting Iowa’s resources. To learn more about Iowa’s Conservation Education Program, please follow this link: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Conservation/REAP/REAP-Funding-at-Work/Conservation-Education. If you would like to talk to Emily or Dave about our educational outreach program, please email Amy at [email protected]