About The Raptor Project

In the fall of 2011, the Cable Natural History Museum initiated a live raptor program, to educate people of all ages the importance of conservation through the use of live, non-releasable birds of prey. Our first bird Binase, a female red-tailed hawk, was an amazing educator who reached several hundred people through our raptor programming before she died in May of 2012. Her inspiring message of protecting and conserving natural habitat for animals like her was heard by many, and she in turn inspired us to create a more comprehensive raptor education program.


Museum Raptor

The Museum has now built a mews (a falconry term that means a raptor enclosure) with space for three birds of prey, on the Museum’s campus in the town of Cable. We have three raptors in residence who are in training as education birds.

Our Great Horned Owl is named Theo after self taught naturalist and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt. He came to us from a wildlife rehabilitator and could not be released back into the wild.

Carson is our Red-tailed Hawk named after Rachel Carson, who in her book Silent Spring, brought attention to the detrimental effects of DDT on species such as raptors.

An American Kestrel we’ve named Aldo, after Aldo Leopold, has also become one of the family. He fell out of his nest as a young bird and was left with injuries that don’t allow him to be released back into the wild.

All of our raptors consist of birds deemed disabled/nonreleasable. Wild raptors are sometimes brought to a wildlife rehabilitator center, due to injury or illness. A veterinarian, in conjunction with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, must decide that a raptor is healthy enough to be an education animal, but not healthy enough to survive on its own in the wild. The birds we have in our care are healthy birds that tolerate a captive life well, but not healthy enough to be released back to the wild.

Raptors Alive 2016 Feather Pendant Fundraiser

14K, Diamond & Pearl Pendant valued at over $5700. Donated by David Neilson – Gemstone Goldsmiths.

Raising money to benefit The Raptor Project!

Tickets $20 each or 3 for $50. Drawing October 6, 2016. Need not be present to win.


Purchase your ticket at:

Cable Natural History Museum – Firefly in Seeley – Art Beat in Hayward

David Neilson: wildlife photographer, goldsmith and raptor enthusiast.

A 1974 “summa cum laude” graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology, his interests in raptors began by capturing and radio-tracking a Barred Owl at the universities Cedarburg Bog Research Station. This ultimately led him to the University of Minnesota’s Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology. As fate would have it Dr. David F. Parmelee convinced him to abandon raptors for charadriiform birds (gulls, skuas, & terns) in the Antarctic.

And so south he went, co-founding the universities’ Antarctic Ornithological Research Program at the U.S. Palmer Station on Anvers Is., along the Antarctic Peninsula. David wintered-over first, spending 1975 on the Antarctic Peninsula. There he began his research into the raptors of the south, the Brown and South Polar Skuas. In all David made 3 expeditions south and was appointed Station Scientific Leader, by the National Science Foundation, Division of Polar Programs for the 1976/77 austral summer.

After completing his Masters of Science degree David, along with his wife Robin, founded the Gemstone Goldsmiths in Stone Lake, WI. There he specialized in custom jewelry design, goldsmithing and gemology where he was a Certified Gemologist of the American Gem Society and directed one of four Accredited Gem Laboratories in Wisconsin.

Today, David still provides custom goldsmithing skills to his many clients and has reacquired his interests in raptor’s and photography. David proudly supports the Cable Natural History Museum as a benefactor of the Raptor Project with his third pendant donation.

You can support The Raptor Project at the Cable Natural History Museum!

Adopting a raptor is a great way to learn about our raptors while helping us meet  their food, medical and housing needs.

Would you like to get up close and personal? Consider booking a program for your group or special occasion through our Wildlife Outreach Programs.

  • Red-tailed Hawk, Carson

  • American Kestrel, Aldo

  • Great Horned Owl, Theo

  • Raptor Volunteer Larry Baldus with Aldo

  • Collections Assistant Jayme Morey with Theo

  • Museum Curator/Naturalist Elsa Hansen with Carson

  • Theo and Elsa during a raptor program