Greetings Everyone!

We are participating in our 1st Arizona Gives Day, which is today! We hope that you will make our first one a memorable one! Not only are supporting your local wildlife but there are tax benefits as well.

Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credits were increased in 2017, and the deadline is now extended through Tax Day. The deadline to dedicate your Arizona Charitable Tax Credits for 2017 is extended through Tuesday, April 18. All singles can donate up to $400 and all couples can donate up to $800. Donate now, and you may be able to report your #AZGivesDay 2018 donations to IRFC on your 2017 tax returns.

Go to:

The donations collected during this campaign will go into a fund that will be a memorial to Kieran. The funds will focus on addressing the need for avian medicine and raptor rehab in Northern Arizona. The closest avian vet (which is an awesome one) is three hours away. NAZ raptors are either euthanized, go to unqualified rehabbers or endure a long 3-hour one-way drive to the PHX area. NAZ raptors desperately need avian medicine and a place to go to get help. We couldn't save Kieran for the second time but we can save those in the future!


March 25, 2017 - March 22, 2018



Sadly, on March 22, 2018 we lost our precious Kieran to a reaction to a drug called Panacur. He died in my arms while racing to the vet three hours away. 

He had to have been one of the most loved Harris Hawks on the planet. Everyone close to him is having a very hard time with his death...especially me. I will never forget all of his cheerleaders and how everyone at the AZ Meet screamed and cheered as he was presented with his first game pin. I sure hope he knew how much he was loved. We will miss him terribly.

Please continue to read below about Kieran's very short but special time with us. This senseless and tragic loss has given us a deeper motivation to bring avian medicine to Northern Arizona. If Kieran had the option of going to an avian vet as he was crashing, he might have had a chance to survive. We will never know. He was just three days shy of his first birthday. 

Soon a memorial fund will be formed in his name in an effort to bring this needed service to the raptors of Northern Arizona, 

Kieran (kee-rawn) is a male Harris Hawk hatched March 25, 2017. Kieran, which means 'little dark one' in Gaelic, will be educating the public all about raptors as apex predators through falconry. He began his training in July; however, by the end of July he was very sick with a severe respiratory infection that nearly cost him his life. He fought hard and we fought hard for him by providing intense medical treatments. We are happy to announce, not only did he survive and without any permanent lung/air sac damage, but he caught his first rabbit on Christmas Eve! He ended his flying season with ten cottontails and two ground squirrels under his belt.

His life was so short and in that short time, Kieran touched thousands of people through outreach, education and falconry experiences. Those people touched by him left with a better appreciation and understanding of raptors.

We love you Kieran!

Click the link to see Kieran's very own YouTube Playlist:


For some happier news!


February was our Kestrels in Love month and it was very successful! We installed kestrel nest boxes all over Northern Arizona. There is a box at the Oak Creek School in Cornville and will be monitored and providing needed data. Our Youth Ambassador, Danae, facilitated this project and helped with the presentation to about 100 students.

Feb 5.jpg


The Dearden Family donated their time and skills by creating 28 kestrel nest box kits available to the public for a $25 donation to IRFC. This is a bargain! A kestrel nest box retails for $85.


Finley and Michele did an American Kestrel Nest Box Partnership presentation for Science on Tap at The Green Room in Flagstaff. With a room full of 60-70 science minded people, kestrels and their decline are now on everyone’s radar. In addition, a Baderville resident bought one of our nest box kits and installed it in a beautiful open field that is sure to attract a pair of kestrels!


On February 24th the IRFC team installed a nest box at Red Rock State Park and held an installation celebration. We even saw a female kestrel buzzing around the nest box by the afternoon!

Finley, Michele and Danae delivered a presentation explaining the kestrel partnership to a room full of potential citizen scientists. Two more box kits were bought and installed in the Sedona area.


The Kestrels in Love theme was so popular, it overflowed into March! All members of the Flying Team were present at the STEM City Celebration 2018 at NAU’s Skydome. We focused heavily on the nest box partnership and with around five-thousand attendees we covered some serious ground!

Speaker at the Northern Arizona Audubon Society’s March Program!

Finley and Michele were the guest speakers at both the Sedona and Flagstaff NAZ Audubon March programs. They gave a presentation about the American Kestrel Nest Box Partnership and provided information on how NAZ Audubon members can become citizen scientists. Three more nest box kits were purchased with two going up in the Sedona area and one in the Flagstaff area.

Also, the Red Rock Newspaper did a really nice story about the program in Sedona and the AZ Daily Sun covered the program as well.

All this outreach caught the attention of someone working with the AZ State Parks. She facilitated two more nest boxes (maybe 3) being installed in Deadhorse State Park and Lost Dutchman State Park.

And finally, to polish off all this great effort, Doug Von Gausig, mayor of Clarkdale and Executive Director of the Verde River Institute, bought five nest box kits to be installed in open fields near the Verde River throughout Clarkdale. On Saturday, March 31st, Michele and Doug spent the morning together exploring locations for nest box installations. We found some awesome kestrel habitat!

Spring Break Camp at the Museum of Northern Arizona


On March 21st, IRFC conducted a half-day camp over spring break at the Muesum of Northern Arizona. There were 17 campers ranging from five-years-old to 11-years-old. Rena created a wonderful ‘Owl pencil holder’ craft that the campers really enjoyed. Dana created a ‘binocular vision’ activity to show what it would be like to have Raptor Vision! The campers loved testing each other’s eyesight. Then Michele and Danae demonstrated how to use radio telemetry by hiding the transmitter while campers had to find their ‘missing bird’…a skill every falconer dreads having to use.

We are conducting two week-long Summer Camps for the Museum of Northern Arizona in June and July. If you have potential campers that might be interested in this register ASAP! We are limiting each camp to only ten campers.

Scholarships are also available.


Upcoming Events


April 21st - Earth Day 2018 at Red Rock State Park!!

We are the main attraction at the Red Rock State Park Earth Day Celebration! 10am – 3pm

Michele will be giving a presentation at 10:30am in the main theater about the history of Earth Day, the Endangered Species Act and Raptor Conservation. All these historical events happened in 1970 come and listen to how they are all tied together!

Michele and Finley will be doing a special demonstration in the field adjacent to the kestrel box installed in February and we will have an information table throughout the event. Stop by and say, “HELLO!” to the IRFC Flying Team and their humans.


Second Saturday’s at the Museum of Northern Arizona

On May 12th, IRFC will be conducting a Raptor Biology program at the MNAZ! 2-4pm

In addition to these public events, IRFC has conducted countless programs in Flagstaff and Verde Valley schools as well as various organizations including one tonight for The Wildlife Society NAU chapter.



December 2017 Newsletter

DANAE, our Youth Ambassador, is hosting a meet & greet fundraiser
this Saturday, December 9th

Time: 2-4pm
Location: Sedona Airport
235 Air Terminal


What a beautiful place to come and drink hot cocoa, eat cookies and hangout with some pretty cool raptors!

The main story

Come join us on top of Airport Mesa in beautiful Sedona and meet IRFC’s raptors. In attendance will be Finley, the American Kestrel and Kieran and Coral, the Harris Hawks. Enjoy homemade hot cocoa and cookies while experiencing these awesome birds up close. Doesn’t get any better than that! This event is great for both families and adults.

Danae is hosting a coloring contest for ages 3-12 (age groups are 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12). Each winner will receive a goodie bag and a mini encounter with Finley! Print this image, color and bring it with you or we will have printed copies and a coloring table at the event for you to color it there!
Donate to ‘hold’ Finely or Kieran on your gloved hand and take photos!


Danae and Finley

Danae and Finley

About our Youth Ambassador Danae: IRFC cannot think of a better young person to champion our mission and inspire young people to care about raptors as well as lead the future generation of raptor conservationists. She is a leader beyond her years and we have no doubt she will carrying out the mission of making the world a better place for raptors with conviction.
Danae has shown a passion for raptors and strong interest in caring for them that can’t seem to be squashed. Her maturity and desire to learn is quite impressive. When she is old enough to start her falconry apprenticeship, which I’m sure will come no later than exactly ON her 12th birthday, it will be an honor for me (Michele) to sponsor her and witness her join the ranks of the very few female falconers.

Christmas Shopping for Raptors!


You can now help IRFC by just shopping! When doing your Christmas shopping this year on Amazon, just choose IRFC as your charity to is that easy and it does not cost you anything! Direct link:





Dana and Michele at the AZ Community Foundation Grant Award Presentation

Dana and Michele at the AZ Community Foundation Grant Award Presentation

Arizona Community Foundation Grant
We are excited to report that we applied for our first grant and we were given a partial award! These funds went towards acquiring our two new members of the flying team, Finley and Kieran as well as covering some of the necessary equipment that come with flying a micro falcon such as a kestrel.

We appreciate the Arizona Community Foundation!
We are VERY appreciative of W.L. Gore who funded the largest portion of this grant; without their generosity our mission would be very difficult to fulfill. 




Sedated in the arms of his awesome Vet Tech  -Ready for his biopsy

Sedated in the arms of his awesome Vet Tech

-Ready for his biopsy

Waiting for his doctor

Waiting for his doctor

As most of you may know, Kieran had been fighting a complex and severe respiratory infection since arriving to Flagstaff. At only eight months old, this sweet boy has spent nearly half his life fighting for it by going to the vet too many times which is a six-hour round trip drive, enduring no less than four doxycycline injections, several anti-nausea injections, anti-inflammatory injections, X-rays and a CT scan, two blood draws, subcutaneous fluids and a biopsy to take an ‘inside look’ at his air sacs and respiratory system. 
Fortunately, the CT scan showed no granulomas or lesions but his lungs did show that they were very inflamed. His bloodwork showed an improvement from his original emergency visit and his nutritional status had greatly improved. His biopsy results showed no more infection and only inflammation. So, what was the problem? Basically, it is still a mystery.

Not only has this been stressful physically for him but mentally it has taken a huge toll on his psychological wellbeing. Over the past few months, he has been man handled for exams and endured long car rides that always end in being at the hospital. I have been working hard on reintroducing him to the world to gain his trust. The end goal is that he is healthy both physically and mentally so, he can do what he was born to do…HUNT!
He is doing ok at the moment, he still gets very short of breath when exerted physically. He has been cleared for training in the hopes that his lungs will heal as he becomes more fit. He still requires breathing treatments twice a day and an anti-inflammatory when his breathing becomes too labored.

Kieran has finally been cleared for training and as of yesterday afternoon his is coming to the glove at a fair distance and should be progressing off his creance (training line) quickly. He will be our hunting experience bird as well as doing raptor/falconry experiences. Stay tuned for his ‘on duty’ status. He is very sweet and will be a lot of fun!

Cleared for training!

Cleared for training!



Finley is SIX months old today!! Hard to believe not too long ago we were all waiting impatiently for his arrival. He is now flying free to his lure and gloved hands! Remember if you would like to experience him up close and witness this kid’s flying skills sign up for one of our experiences via our website.


Finley sporting his new micro-transmitter!

Finley sporting his new micro-transmitter!



Flagstaff Festival of Science

The IRFC crew and Kieran at Flagstaff Festival of Science for Science in the Park

The IRFC crew and Kieran at Flagstaff Festival of Science for Science in the Park

IRFC participated in Flagstaff Festival of Science! It was a fun, busy week that began with Science in the Park. We had over 400 people visit our table. Finley, Kieran and Coral were all in attendance.

Throughout the FFS weeklong celebration, IRFC visited several elementary schools to conduct presentations focusing on raptor biology and conservation. The birds had fun and it was awesome to see our future generation take an interest in raptors.

The week ended with a Falconry Workshop that filled up in a matter of days with a long waiting list. Cannot wait for next year!

Michele with Kieran teaching Raptor Biology

Michele with Kieran teaching Raptor Biology


Workshops and Outreach

Bald Eagle spotted in a tree at our Raptor ID Workshop in November

Bald Eagle spotted in a tree at our Raptor ID Workshop in November

Over the past several months we have offered a variety of workshops such as Falconry 101 and Raptor ID as well as Happy OWLoween.
We have a few more in the planning stages with February being ‘Kestrels in Love’ themed conservation events. Stay tuned for those.


Science on Tap

IRFC and Finley will be guest speaking at Science on Tap at the Green Room on February 15, 2018 in Flagstaff. In line with our Kestrels in Love theme, Finley will be discussing the decline of his wild counterparts and how you can help through Citizen Science and installing nest boxes.

Copyright © 2018 International Raptor & Falconry Center, All rights reserved. 

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