​With great sadness, I must share that Avian Ambassador, Hendrix, passed away on the night of February 18. He was just 3 months shy of 14 years of age.

His remarkable life educating people about kestrels and all birds of prey is befitting of the royalty he believed he was.

The Black Hills Raptor Center acquired the kestrel in September 2010. A staff person from the Zoo met John Halverson and me in Wall, and we did the handoff of the little fellow. As we departed Wall headed for home, the song on the radio was Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” At that moment, his name was selected: Hendrix.

During his career, Hendrix captivated audiences 880 times at programs and events. His brilliant colors and his astounding calls of “killy, killy, killy” made him a favorite for many people. He developed his own following among residents of the Black Hills, who came to programs just to see him.

On January 9 of this year, volunteers noticed strange behaviors and quickly brought Hendrix indoors for closer observation. Our vet worked diligently, visiting Hendrix and watching videos of him, and determined that he was having seizures. After a couple of weeks, he made it quite clear he was ready to return to his mew. When the door to his ICU enclosure was opened, he flew out and landed on the top of the X-ray machine!

The next morning, he returned to his beloved corner mew with the two windows, and was there, comfortable and content until February 15, when he had another seizure. When I said goodnight on February 17, he was happily eating a mouse on his perch. I do not feel that he suffered. In the wild, an American Kestrel will survive 4 or 5 years at the most. Hendrix’s long life was rich with adventures and full of excitement.

Thank you, H-man, for all you taught us. Your presence here was so special, and we are honored we got to share your life.

Maggie Engler, Executive Director

Our mission is to conserve and protect native birds of prey and their natural habitats through education, rehabilitation, and research.

Watch an educational program with

Black Hills Raptor Center.

About Black Hills Raptor Center

Who We Are:

The Black Hills Raptor Center is an all volunteer group, managed by an 8 person board of directors. We are a not-for-profit organization with a  501 (c) 3 status from the Internal Revenue Service…

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Black Hills Raptor Center is to conserve and protect native birds of prey and their natural habitats through education, rehabilitation, and research.

What We Do:

The Black Hills Raptor Center provides 125-150 educational programs annually using live raptors. We present in classrooms, at youth programs, in the community, and for special events…

We Have the Power to Impact Our Future,
and We’re Doing Something About It

Building a Dream

The idea of developing BHRC (Black Hills Raptor Center) began on September 2010. That is when John Halverson and Maggie Engler set about the task of reducing “nature deficit disorder” in their corner of the world…

Our Current Events

Book A Program


Help Us Help The Raptors

Black Hills Raptor Center relies on contributions from donors to continue our work. Be part of the solution to nature deficit disorder in this region. Donate today!

Please Make a Donation

Shop The Black Hills Raptor Center Store

BHRC Stickers

Brand new stickers custom designed by one of our volunteers are now on sale for $3 a sticker. These stickers are high quality vinyl stickers that can be placed just about anywhere. They are waterproof and resistant to sunlight fading.

Black Hills Raptor Mouse Pads Elise

Choose your favorite raptor mouse pads from the birds cared for by the Raptor Center.  Order this mouse pad with Elise the Red-tailed hawk on it! Size is a nice large 8” x 9”.  This size gives you lots of room to move your mouse around.

Kestrel / Screech Owl Nest Box

YES! I want a kestrel/screech owl nest box for my property!

BHRC Coffee Mugs

Drink your morning joe with the birds! These 4 individuals were the original stars of the Black Hills Raptor Center. John calls them the “Founding Four Feathers”. They are Elise the red-tailed hawk, Icarus the great horned owl, Boo the western screech owl, and Hendrix the American kestrel.

Our Partners & Sponsors


Safe Secure Website

Get In Touch With BHRC

7 + 13 =