About The Black Hills Raptor Center

Welcome, and take a peek around the website to meet our avian ambassadors, learn something new about birds of prey, view our program schedule, and donate to help our raptors.

Black Hills Raptor Center
Raptors, or birds of prey, are unique and fascinating birds.


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

Email us


Did you know that South Dakota is home to:


    • Two species of eagles
    • One specie of vulture
    • Osprey
    • Fifteen species of daytime (diurnal) raptors
    • Ten species of nighttime (nocturnal) raptors

Black Hills Raptor Center

 Our Mission Statement:


The Black Hills Raptor Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and conservation of native wildlife and habitat in South Dakota through education, rehabilitation and study. Our purposes are to increase community awareness of native birds through education; to assist injured and orphaned birds through rehabilitation and release; and to work closely with government agencies, wildlife managers and researchers in research and conservation efforts.

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.

Black Hills Raptor Center

The long-term goals for the Black Hills Raptor Center:  include 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.

Black Hills Raptor Center


Who we are:

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


Our Board of Directors:


Dr. 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.


Dr. Steven Benn, MD

Black Hills Neonatology, LLP
Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rapid City Regional Hospital
Dr. Benn is interested in education of children, and falconry. He brings business acumen and knowledge of animals 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

Director of Social Media, Reptile Gardens
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 now online through our social media platforms.


To see our raptors go here.

Black Hills Raptor Center

Thank you for your interest in the Black Hills Raptor Center!  We are an all volunteer organization.