Black Hills Raptor Center opens new facility to the public

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Early Saturday, the Black Hills Raptor Center welcomed the public to a tour of its new facility.

Officials from the Raptor Center say that it’s not only a step up from the old facility, but will also allow them to enhance their care for animals.

It started as humbled beginnings for the Black Hills Raptor Center, and now beginnings have led to this.

“We have two buildings that are almost completely done, a muse or an aviary for our ambassador birds, and then also our residents,” said Black Hills Raptor Center Executive Director Maggie Engler. “Because you have to have somebody on site for bad weather and protection for the birds.”

The raptor center now owns five acres that it finished transitioning into in late August.

On Saturday, it held its first open house by selling over 160 tickets to show the public all of it.

“They’re getting a chance to see the entire operation,” Maggie said. “The building with with the current bird zone where we prep food and and take care of the injured. They get a chance to walk through outlines of the other buildings that we will build in the coming years.”

Four more buildings are on the way with total completion set for roughly 2026 that will cost about $2.4 million.

With the additions will come hopes of doubling the current ambassadors.

A new site that enhances the Raptor Center’s mission of education and research of the live birds of prey and caring for those that need help.

“This facility will allow us to get the permit that we need to rehabilitate the injured,” Maggie added. “Up till now, what we’ve been able to do is perform triage and then get them to the closest rehabilitator who is in Pierre, or all the way over to Watertown.”

The Raptor Center is also always seeking donations.

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