The Birds of Prey Foundation’s humble beginnings took place in 1979 when Sigrid Ueblacker, the founder of the Birds of Prey Foundation, was brought an orphaned starling by her daughter, Elke. After raising this bird, Elke presented her mother with two newly hatched Poorwills that Sigrid raised to adulthood and released at their place of recovery. Later that summer, neighborhood children arrived with three nestling Barn Swallows, which were also raised and released.
In 1981, Sigrid began to take classes and continued to receive injured and orphaned birds. She was one of the first individuals in the Denver region to be granted a rehabilitation permit by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. On Halloween day of 1981, the first owl arrived.
Our founder, Sigrid Ueblacker
The original Loafing Shed
Completed Loafing Shed cages (above) and the original interior (below)
Loafing Shed cages under construction
The beginning of the falcon, hawk and owl cages
Cherokee flight cages under construction
Completed Cherokee flight cage (left) and Eagle flight cage
By 1982, Sigrid cared for 90 birds in her home and backyard. A year later, it expanded to 150 birds being cared for out of four separate locations in the Lakewood area.
In 1984, Boulder County offered four buildings and a parcel of land on Rock Creek Farm, all of which were designated for rehabilitation. The Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Foundation was officially chartered in the the state of Colorado as a non-profit corporation in October of 1984. Over the next few years, most of the current flight cages were constructed. The first ICU and mouse house were renovated from the old milking barn on the farm. By 1988, all birds were moved from the Lakewood locations to the new facility at Rock Creek Farm.
385 birds were admitted in 1989. By the end of 1989, all current flight cages were complete and Heidi Bucknam was hired full time. The quail house was completed in 1991, closely followed by the completion of the ICU building in 1993. 504 birds were admitted in 1993. In 1997, construction began on the last vacant building at the ICU complex. This building became the main facility for mice and rats, offices, additional caging for birds and a lab.
In 2009, founder Sigrid Ueblacker passed away. One year later, Heidi Bucknam became our Executive Director. Over 17,000 birds have been admitted and helped by Birds of Prey since the beginning. We have had record years regularly since then, admitting 676 birds in 2019, 685 in 2020, and 738 in 2021.