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The Raptor Center records

Identifier: ua01157

Scope and Contents

The Raptor Center records contain material related to its administration, the rehabilitation and research of local raptors, and their educational programs, from 1966 and 2007. This includes promotional material, volunteer information and data regarding the studies of the Peregrine Falcon and the Osprey, among other raptors.


  • 1966-2007


Conditions Governing Access

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

The Raptor Center was conceived through the research and study of raptors by Dr. Gary Duke and Dr. Patrick Redig in the early 1970s (1). It was in 1972 when Dr. Redig, then a veterinary student under Dr. Duke, fell into caring for injured birds and owls while conducting research on their digestive systems (3). At that time, Duke called upon the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to supply them with injured owls and Redig soon realized he could help a number of them survive. This early raptor research led Duke and Redig to learn more on the tolerance of anesthesia by other birds and raptors. From 1972 to 1973, Duke and Redig were able to determine an appropriate anesthetic dosage and developed the necessary procedures to help save the lives of 120 raptors (3). Soon after, Duke began writing grant proposals to gain support for their research and in 1974 with the help of the Mardag Foundation, known then as the Raptor Research and Rehabilitation Center, was born (3). By 1988, after nearly 14 years of studying raptors, the Raptor Research and Rehabilitation Center moved into a 21,000 square foot facility, built with the help of a donation by Don and Louise Gabbert of Gabberts Incorporated (1). On November 10, 1988, the new center on the St. Paul campus was dedicated and named the Gabbert Raptor Center, after Gabbert's generous support (2).

With the additional space provided through this new facility, The Raptor Center was able to dedicate time and resources towards creating educational programs (4). In 2004, The Raptor Center provided an environmental education program, which extended through a partnership with the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow program to create a youth service-learning initiative (1). They then expanded their professional education program in 2006 to include annual workshops, wet-labs for professionals to use, and online classes (1).

Outside of their research and educational programs, The Raptor Center published multiple publications including the Medical Management of Birds of Prey in 1986, which details the medical and surgical techniques developed for birds of prey by Dr. Redig (1), as well as, The Raptor Biomedicine II in 1993 and The Raptor Biomedicine III in 1998 (4). Other publications included The Care and Management of Captive Raptors in 1996 and Raptors in Captivity: A Guide to Care and Management in 2005. Both were used as a standard guide on how to manage the capturing of raptors and adopted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (1).

Long-time director, Dr. Patrick Redig retired in 2007 and Dr. Julia Ponder was named the new executive director there after. In their time, Redig and Ponder were able to see two birds of prey be removed from the Endangered Species List, the Peregrine Falcon in 1999 and the Bald Eagle in 2007 (1). Both removals were contributed by the rehabilitation and research done by those associated with The Raptor Center. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, The Raptor Center broke ground on new construction in 2014. In 2015, the outdoor enclosure and housing for educational birds was complete and by 2018 the renovated visitor center was open to the public (1).


(1) “Our History,” The Raptor Center

(2) University Relations, Brief, 1988

(3) Gopher Peavey, 1989

(4) The Raptor Center Raptor Release 40th Anniversary Commemorative Issue, 2014


22.2 Cubic Feet (17 record boxes, 1 half hollinger and 1 flat box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the administrative, research and program material created and used by The Raptor Center.


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series 1: Administrative Material, 1976-2007
  • Series 2: Program and Project Material, 1969-2005
  • Series 3: Research and Reports, 1973-2006
  • Series 4: Promotional Material, 1966-2004

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was transferred to the University Archives between 2008 and 2009 by the Raptor Center.

Processing Information

Processing completed with funds from the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society (2021-2022).

The Raptor Center records
Lydia Larson
Janurary - March 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area