Raptors of the Rockies
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 About Us
Banner photos by Kate Davis, Raptors of the Rockies. All rights reserved.
Updated 3/3/2024 10:06:19 AM

Executive Director Kate Davis, cover the the U of M alumni mag, photo by Keith Fialcowitz. Cover in 2017, photo by Kate. Executive Director Kate Davis, cover the the U of M alumni mag, photo by Keith Fialcowitz. Cover in 2017, photo by Kate.

Read our paper on chickadee response to various predators, published in Science Magazine, June 24, 2005

Nigel the Golden Eagle, Owen the Northern Saw-whet Owl and Sibley the Peregrine, all Stars!

Kate Davis began life with a love of animals and by junior high school in 1973, she was caring for mammals and raptors with the Cincinnati Zoo Junior Zoologists Club. She provided educational programs at the zoo and in the community, as well as illustrating their publications and doing taxidermy work. After locating to Missoula in 1978, Kate received a degree with honors in Zoology from the University of Montana in 1982. She moved to a ranch outside of Missoula and obtained the required federal and state rehabilitation, possession, eagle exhibition and falconry permits. Kate founded Raptors of the Rockies in 1988, educating schools and the public about raptors and resource conservation. Since then, Kate and birds have appeared in 1886 programs for 140,000 audience members, young and old alike. She has also presented her lively PowerPoint programs across the country from Boston to Seattle, with Chicago, Salt Lake City and Detroit in between.

Sibley, our Peregrine Falcon, flying 28 feet straight up in the "Tower of Power" at the University of Montana Flight Lab, 1500 frames per second with a Phantom camera, host Dr. Bret Tobalske. A clip of this is played at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Please view Kate's TEDx Talk from 2015 entitled "Communication In the Dark" starring Jillian the Great Horned Owl.

Raptors of The Rockies
She also joined host Annie Garde on Montana Public Radio Children's programming every several months with raptors as guests, 95 "appearances." Raptors of the Rockies hosted the international Raptor Research Foundation Conference in 2008, and Kate served as their Education Chair and Conference Chair, four years each. These education birds are the subjects and source of inspiration for her photography, drawings, paintings, etchings, welded steel sculptures, and writing. Her first book "Raptors of the Rockies" came out in 2001 and "Falcons of North America" hit the stands in 2008. "Raptors of the West" won the National Outdoor Book Award and Montana Book Award Grand Prize. Her fourth book "Bald Eagle Nest" came out in 2013 – a nest that fledged four young, a very rare feat, followed by "American Kestrel: Pint-sized Predator." "Birds Are People, Too" is a blend of photography and humor and “it’s a riot!” says Bill Harley. The new title is "Falcons of North America Second Edition," thirteen years of new science, larger format, 260 photos and 160 new ones. Reviews have one word in common: WOW!

Kate is currently caring for thirteen permanently disabled raptors and falconry birds that have been placed on the required permits, including an Aplomado Falcon from The Peregrine Fund. These are the falcons, eagles, hawks and owls that make up the Raptors of the Rockies "Teaching Team" - an integral part of Raptors of the Rockies programs. Together with Kate, they form the heart and soul of the Raptors of the Rockies educational experience. Kate was presented the greatest of honors in 2017 – the Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, only periodically given in Montana. In 2021 Kate won the President's Award from the Raptor Research Foundation, given by outgoing president Libby Mojica. The Biggie - a speaking engagement at the Cincinnati Zoo in April 2023, "Fifty Years as a Junior Zoologist," to the month, and where it all started. She and raptors are celebrating their 37th year of education, no retirement in sight.

The Raptor Ranch
In May of 2001, Raptors of the Rockies moved to all new facilities in a gorgeous setting on the Bitterroot River south of Missoula. New structures and enclosures were constructed, all with the birds’ safety, comfort, and individual needs as our primary concern. All resident birds have exposure to and refuge from the elements, water baths, and a variety of perches. Healthy diets mimic what they would eat in the wild: quail, mice, squirrels and game meat.

1988 - 2001
For 13 years Raptors of the Rockies was located on the banks of the Clark Fork River on an original homesteader's ranch. A hundred-year-old log cabin served as the nerve center for the Raptor Ranch, with the original livestock barns, chicken coops and goat pens serving as homes to our birds. Ironically, when those buildings were originally built, the Fish and Game office offered a bounty on many of the species that lived in them.

Please note that we are not a zoo or "sanctuary" and are not open to the public. The ranch is the permanent home to our teaching team of birds. Although we occasionally give tours, they are by invitation only. If you would like to meet the birds, we encourage you attend one of the numerous public programs we conduct every year or contact us about scheduling a program for you or your organization. Also, we do not use or have volunteers, nor do we have employment openings.

Raptor Funding
Raptors of the Rockies is a non-profit 501(c)(3) program funded largely by donations, grants, and program fees. All contributions are tax-deductible. Our funding breakdown for the year:

  • 2023:
  • 2% - Program Fees
  • 63% - Donations
  • 34% - Grants
  • 1% - Sales of Merchandise, portion of books proceeds
Raptor Backers
Since 1988, Raptors of the Rockies has benefited from the generosity of hundreds of individuals and public and private organizations. To all of our contributors, past and present, we offer a hearty thank you! It is your generous support that has allowed us to continue our mission of raptor education and we look forward to your continued support.

Board of Directors

  • Kate Davis, Executive Director
  • Kathy Heffernan - Secretary
  • Dale Manning
  • Jennifer Manning
  • Bev Beck Glueckert

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Raptors of the Rockies    P.O. Box 250    Florence, Montana 59833    raptors@montana.com

Contents, photos, and artwork property of Raptors of the Rockies. © 2000 - 2002
Photos by Kate Davis unless otherwise indicated.
Web site and graphic design by Steve Palmer.