The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Raptor Rescue and Rehabilitation Program

Grant Information
Categories Environment
Location United States
Cycle Year 2022
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Montana Raptor Conservation Center
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Montana raptor conservation center
EIN 36-3782562
Contact Information
Contact Name Mrs. Vanessa Skelton
Phone 406-579-7167
PO Box 4061
Additional Information
Used for This grant would be used to help fund our rescue and rehabilitation program at Montana Raptor Conservation Center. The growth made possible through funding our efforts will ensure we are able to rescue and adequately rehabilitate 200+ raptors in the next year. Between the increases in food costs and medications, veterinary services for emergency surgeries and disease mitigation supplies we spend over $25,000 annually on our rehab and rescue program, and this does not include highly skilled staffing wages.
Benefits As we know from living in Bozeman, the natural environment is a critical piece of our community health. Raptors play a very specific and important role in the balance of the natural environment in Montana. Unfortunately, humans have been the cause of so many of the issues that challenge the species. Almost 99% of the injury calls we receive at the center are human caused injuries. Only by educating the public through our educational programming and rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing injured birds can we mitigate the damage we are responsible for. "The presence of raptors in the wild serves as a barometer of ecological health. Birds of prey are predators at the top of the food chain; because threats like pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change have the most dramatic impact on top predators, we refer to them as indicator species. Researching the population trends of raptors provides a cost-effective and efficient means of detecting environmental change, allowing us to take conservation action that is driven by the latest scientific data. Raptors also play an important ecological role by controlling populations of rodents and other small mammals." (
Proposal Description

This grant is for the Raptor Rescue and Rehabilitation Program at Montana Raptor Conservation Center (MRCC). 

Founded in 1988, our mission is to improve the welfare of raptors across Montana through rehabilitation of injured birds, community education, and partnerships for raptor conservation and research. We respond to requests to rescue distressed raptors; use best practices to provide medical care, physical therapy, and rehabilitation to injured birds; release raptors able to rejoin the wild; and provide a lifetime home and long- term care for unreleasable raptors serving as MRCC Education Birds. We conduct events to advance the public’s awareness of raptors and their importance to the environment and give educational presentations to schools, businesses, service clubs, and outdoor organizations.

At Montana Raptor Conservation Center (MRCC) we annually respond to requests to rescue 200+ distressed raptors over an 88,000 square mile area of the eastern half of Montana. Thankfully MRCC depends on over 10 different transport volunteers who retrieve injured raptors and drive them to meet us at different locations across our beautiful state to help offset our transport costs. We coordinate rescues with state and federal agencies such as County Sheriffs, US fish Wildlife and Parks wardens and biologists, and US Forest Service employees.

We take pride in our work and use best practices to provide medical care, physical therapy, and rehabilitation to injured birds. We release as many raptors as possible that are able to rejoin the wild and have productive full lives. Unfortunately a very sad part of our work is that we humanely euthanize birds that are unreleasable in the wild.   MRCC also provides a lifetime home and long-term care for unreleasable raptors serving as education birds. 

We depend on All West Vet to lead our surgeries on all raptors at the center. This 20+ year old partnership is critical to our success in rehab as 18% of our raptors need emergency surgery upon admission.

Our rehab services include:  digital x-ray, blood work, lead testing, physical therapy, muscle conditioning, range of motion exercises, surgeries, IO catheters for hydration, infection treatments, wound care, debugging, supplemental oxygen, nebulization, ICU, and lead bullet extraction.  

Approximately 99% of our injury calls are due to human-caused issues including: lead poisoning, windshield collision, and shootings.

This funding will ensure we have the equipment, food, medicines, testing supplies, travel costs, surgical expertise and rescue supplies needed to rescue 200 raptors next year. MRCC also contributes our annual testing results related to lead poisoning to local researchers studying the affects of lead on wild raptors.