Partner Spotlight with the
Blackland Prairie Raptor Center

by Tiara Chapman

Credit: Sean Fitzgerald

Texas is home to more raptors than any other state! Some, like the red-tailed hawk, make Texas their permanent home while others, like the Mississippi Kite, love to hang out in Texas during the summer. During spring and fall migrations, raptor populations can swell by 1 million visitors.

Eastern Screech Owl with injured wing Credit: BPRC
Eastern Screech Owl with injured wing Credit: BPRC

However, not all of these birds of prey receive a warm Texas welcome. Development and population growth have had serious impacts on their habitat, food sources, and overall safety. It’s estimated that 34% of golden eagles along the Texas-Mexico border are electrocuted within their first year of life outside the nest while red-tailed hawks have lost 99% of their original hunting grounds throughout the Blackland Prairie.

Rehabilitated Barred Owl Release Credit: BPRC
Rehabilitated Barred Owl Release Credit: BPRC

Making sure that raptors have room to spread their wings safely is a top priority for our Conservation Partner, the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center. For over two decades, this North Texas nonprofit has provided a haven for thousands of abandoned and injured birds of prey, nurturing them until they’re ready to soar in the wild once again.

Keep reading to learn more about them and their incredible work!

Injured Great Horned Owl Credit: BPRC
Injured Great Horned Owl Credit: BPRC

Located forty miles north of Dallas, on Lavon Lake, the 66-acre campus of the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center (BPRC) houses 14 avian ambassadors, a diagnostic lab, a veterinary clinic, research offices, and space for you to explore it all!

The BPRC has educated over 30,000 people about raptors through public outreach and programs like their 1st Saturday Open Houses, Raptor Photo Days, Family Campouts, and more. These events provide a bird’s eye overview of the value of raptors in the ecosystem and give participants an up-close and personal experience with the beauty of these animals. Their mission to advance the environmental preservation of birds of prey and wildlife in their natural habitat extends through these public education events and into restoration and rehabilitation.

Open Glade in a section of restored prairie with blooming American beauty flower. Credit: BPRC
Open Glade in a section of restored prairie Credit: BPRC

BPRC’s namesake comes from the Blackland Prairie ecosystem that once comprised over 23,500 square miles of the Lone Star State and served as the primary habitat for the 39 species of raptors that make their home in Texas. Today less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie ecosystem remains. As raptors lose this space, they must navigate the hazards of neighborhoods, cities, and infrastructure to survive. Many are injured in the process by electrocution, lawn fertilizer burns, maliciousness, collision strikes, and more. The BPRC rehabilitates hundreds of birds of prey every year brought in from across the state, for diagnosis, treatment, and release back into the wild.

In addition to helping birds of prey recover physically, BPRC also works to restore their habitat. A cadre of volunteers helps clear invasive plants from their 66-acre campus that sits along Lake Lavon. In 2023, their work to clear 800 cedar trees off the property resulted in the return of the native plant species that had been crowded out. With the return of native plant food sources comes the return of prey animals like rabbits, wood mice, squirrels, and other rodents. With the return of prey animals, raptors can better thrive in their natural habitats, soaring safe and sound through Texas skies.

Red-shouldered hawk in flight. Credit JLK Photography
Red-shouldered hawk in flight. Credit: JLK Photography

Texan by Nature’s vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world.

Uplifting the valuable work of our Conservation Partners, like the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, brings us one step closer to achieving our mission of uniting all Texans in conservation action. Be sure to stop by when you are in town for one of BPRC’s many public education events and stay up to date on their work by following them on Facebook!

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