About Us

Eastern Screech Owl in log

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.

We provide 125-150 educational programs annually using live raptors. We present in classrooms, at youth programs, in the community, and for special events.

We are growing! Building is in progress for a new facility to house our education birds. Our long-term goal is to create a facility that can be visited by the public, will provide raptor rehabilitation services in western South Dakota, and will conduct scientific research on birds found in our region.

We are a not-for-profit organization with a 501(c) 3 status from the Internal Revenue Service.

Mailing Address:
Black Hills Raptor Center
Box 9713, Rapid City SD 57709


More about the BHRC

Our birds and volunteers


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Our Board of



Peggy Behrens, DVM

Dr. Behrens is our veterinarian of record for federal permits. She has special interest in rehabilitation of raptors. She was the head of the NAU vet tech program for 30 years before her retirement in the spring of 2018.

Steven Benn, MD

Neonatologist at Monument Health

Dr. Benn is interested in the education of children, and falconry. He is involved in many community organizations and we are grateful for the business acumen and knowledge of animals he brings to the group.

Maggie Engler

Specialized Tutor, Rapid City Dyslexia Care
Co-founder and President of the Board

Ms. Engler is a professional environmental educator and interpreter with 35 years’ experience in the field. She also has 12 years of experience as a professional fundraiser. She teaches for community education every year, and has written a column on birds for the Rapid City Journal

Leon Fenhaus

Mr. Fenhaus is the Area Business Representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49. He has also served as a lobbyist in Washington DC. His ability to negotiate, and his understanding of business processes is invaluable to the board.


Wayne Gilbert, J.D.

Barker Wilson Law Firm

Mr. Gilbert provides legal counsel to the organization. An active outdoorsman and environmentalist, Mr. Gilbert has a great understanding of world ecosystems.

John Halverson


Mr. Halverson is a professional aquaculturist. He has 15 years’ experience in interpretation of natural history subjects, and has performed professional reparatory theatre. He does scientific research on birds with his private firm, Ranger Resources. His willingness to do construction, rat gutting, and all the dirty work along with generating new ideas is essential to the daily operation of the non-profit.

Julia Kittelson

Ms. Kittelson has more than 10 years of experience with avian care, training, and education. She loves sharing live raptors with the Black Hills community in person, and online through our social media platforms. She works at the Rapid City Public library.

Jeff Sugrue

Mr. Sugrue served in the military for 32 years and has experience flying (though not with wings – he flew an AH-1 Cobra helicopter). He also spent 4 years as the Fire Chief for the Silver City Volunteer Fire Department. His organizational skills and enthusiasm are an enormous help to us.



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