RARE + AmazonSmile

Do you shop at Amazon.com?  Would you like to help support The RARE Group with every purchase you make?  Well, it’s your (and our!) lucky day, because AmazonSmile has made it incredibly easy to support your favorite charities simply by shopping!

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a service operated by Amazon which allows users to enjoy the same convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the charitable organization of your choice.

That’s right – all you have to do is purchase items through AmazonSmile and 0.5% of each eligible purchase will be automatically donated to The RARE Group!

Sounds great!  How do I get started?

It’s super simple.  To link your existing Amazon account with AmazonSmile, follow the steps below:

  • Log on to smile.amazon.com (and be sure to bookmark this site!).
  • Under the Your Account tab toward the top right of the screen, choose Your Account from the drop down menu.
  • Scroll down to the Settings section.
  • Under the Account Settings list, select the Change Your Charity link.
  • In the Or pick your own charitable organization: field, type in The RARE Group and click the Search button (see graphic below).

  • Click the Select button to choose The RARE Group as your charity (see graphic below).

And that’s all there is to it!

It’s really that easy to support RARE simply by shopping with AmazonSmile.  Update your account today to get started!

To find out more about the program, visit AmazonSmile’s Program Details page.

Thank you all for your interest in The RARE Group and for all the support we have received from our community.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on all our wild news!

A Warm Thank You

Remember just last week when we shared the great news about our new incubator?  Well today we have even more great news – the new incubator has already arrived at the RARE clinic!  Here is our very happy veterinary technician and field team member Michele, who championed the campaign, with our new Baby Warm incubator.

The RARE Group would very much like to thank all of our donors once again for helping us continue our care of Iowa’s wildlife.  Without your kindness and generosity, we would not be able to do what we do.

The RARE Group would also like to thank Baby Warm once again for their work to provide opportunities like this to wildlife rehabilitation groups across the country.  Because of organizations like this, so many baby animals receive the safety and warmth they need while in care.  And that fills us warm fuzzy feelings!

Be sure to follow The RARE Group on Facebook to stay up to date on news, events, and other wild happenings with RARE.

A New Incubator for RARE

We have some very exciting news to share: the RARE Group has received funding to add an incubator to our new clinic facility!  Thanks to a campaign through the non-profit Baby Warm, an organization that does just one thing — helps raise funds to buy high quality incubators for wildlife rehabbers like us — we were able to raise $475.00 and will soon have a warm, safe haven for baby birds.

View our Baby Warm project page here.

Keeping baby animals warm can mean the difference between life and death — just one incubator can save the lives of hundreds of animals. Through the help and generosity of our community, we have met this goal (almost literally overnight!) and will soon have a warm, safe place for baby raptors.  THANK YOU TO ALL WHO DONATED!  A big thank you as well to Baby Warm for helping wildlife rehabilitators achieve these goals and continue to provide the best care possible for all wild creatures.

A juvenile Great Horned Owl is treated in the RARE clinic.

From the BabyWarm website:

We donate incubators to wildlife rehabilitators who save orphaned wild baby animals.

In communities everywhere, there are wildlife rehabilitators who dedicate their lives to caring for orphaned baby animals, often paying for baby formula, medicine and supplies out of their own pockets. For many rehabbers, a life saving incubator is a luxury that’s out of their reach.

Baby incubators are the best place for weak and fragile baby animals to heal, hide, cuddle, and grow ~ especially for tiny babies who aren’t yet old enough to retain their own heat. The incubators provide a warm, clean, quiet, safe and reliable haven for these orphaned baby animals.

[incubator image above via babywarm.org]

2016 Pelican Festival Flyer & Map2

Save the Date for the 2016 Pelican Festival

Join The RARE Group at the 6th Annual Pelican Festival on Sunday, September 11 at the Hawkeye Wildlife Area near Swisher.  Exhibitors include the Iowa Ornithologist’s Union, Eastern Iowa Beekeeper’s Association, Iowa and Cedar County Conservation, and of course, The RARE Group.

For more information, check out the Pelican Festival event page on Facebook and stay tuned for more updates from RARE as the date approaches.  As always, you can follow The RARE Group by staying up to date on news and events via our Facebook page and blog.  Thank you for your support!

2016 Pelican Festival Flyer & Map2


RARE at Seize the Carp!

This past Saturday, July 16, RARE volunteers presented an educational program at Seize the Carp!, an outdoor festival hosted by Take A Kid Outdoors (TAKO).  The event, held at Iowa City’s Lower City Park, was geared toward promoting fun and healthy outdoor activities for kids and adults alike.  To everyone’s delight, RARE volunteer Joan and her assistant Emily presented an educational program with Regi, a great horned owl, and Gonzo, a turkey vulture.  Thanks, TAKO, for having us!

Gonzo the turkey vulture catches some morning rays.

Click any of the images below to view a slideshow of photos by RARE volunteer Dawn.

Stay up to date with RARE news by following us on Facebook or subscribing to our blog!

Shop or Drop (Off) to Donate!

We have two new ways for our supporters to help us meet our budget, and neither one will cost the donor a penny!

We have registered as a nonprofit organization with Amazon Smile, which will donate to us 0.5% of purchases made in our name.  All you have to do is go to Amazon through the Amazon Smile link, sign in to your regular Amazon account, and select RARE Group as your designated charity before you begin shopping.  Amazon will take it from there by crediting RARE’s account with the donation generated by your purchases.  Go to here learn more about the program.
If you live in the Iowa City/Coralville area and have some gently used items around your house that you want to get rid of, check with us first to see if we can use them.  If we don’t have a need for your goods, you can take them to Stuff Etc. for sale on consignment.  You donate them in the name of RARE and receive a tax-donation receipt, and RARE will receive proceeds from the sale.  Stuff Etc. is a wonderful community oriented business and a great place both to shop and to support RARE or other local charities.


First of all, we want to express our gratitude to the Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits Department on 1st Ave. in Iowa City for allowing us to be part of their wine- and beer-tasting event last Friday.  Many local friends and supporters came out for that, and we received $260 in donations.  In addition, Hy-Vee donated 5% of the sales during the evening, which amounted to $240 – a grand total of $500!


Thanks to the generosity of a couple of dedicated supporters, we are going to be leasing — at below market cost — a brand new 1200-square-foot space that will give us plenty of room to receive and provide medical treatment for distressed raptors.

We will continue to rely on the veterinary services of Dr. Mary Ebert at Gentle Hearts Pet Clinic and Dr. Kim Vercande at Best Friends Veterinary Care.

The biggest challenge we now face is finding the resources to make our clinic a functioning reality.  We need to furnish it with medical and office equipment, appliances, and supplies.  And we are going to need a steady flow of income to pay the monthly rent and utilities.


Our rent (again, below market value) will be $500 per month plus utilities, which we estimate at about $100.  The HyVee event has given us what we need for the first month’s rent.  One of our friends has suggested that IF 20 PEOPLE WOULD BE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE $30 PER MONTH FOR THE NEXT 11 MONTHS, the rent and utilities would be covered for our first year.

Our PayPal account includes an option for a recurring payment, which you could cancel at any time or could extended for as long as you desire.  Any amount, whether recurring or a one-time contribution, will help keep us in the black.

Our In-kind Donations list is updated.  If you have or know where you can acquire an item on this list and are willing to donate it to RARE, please email us so that we can determine whether it meets our needs or we have already received it.  We ask that you not call our telephone hotline so that we can reserve that number for reports of birds in need of help.

All of us at RARE are thankful for your partnership in helping all of the birds that come our way.

Wine & Craft Beer Tasting

Please join us for a free wine and craft beer tasting at the Hy-Vee Drug Store Wine and Spirits department, 310 N. 1st Ave. (corner of Rochester and 1st Ave.) in Iowa City on Friday, June 17, from 5:00-7:30 p.m.

5% of the proceeds will go to RARE.

Representatives of the Board of Directors and the Field Team of RARE will be on hand to meet and greet and talk with you about our work and about how you can help.

Here is a flyer that you can print out and distribute where lots of people will see it.

We hope to see you there!

Logo Unveiling and Painting Party!

Join local artist Russ Fagle on Sunday, June 26, from 4-6 p.m. at The Cherry Building, 329 10th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401, to create your own version of his “Soaring Hawk Over Eastern Iowa” painting that was created specifically for the RARE Group. Fagle Soaring Hawk paintingRuss will lead you step by step to develop your own creative version.  No art experience required. All materials will be provided and Russ will provide the basic drawing used to create the artwork.Fagle Soaring Hawk sketch

The painting party will be followed by a reception from 6-7:30 p.m., with a meet and greet with representatives of RARE and an unveiling of the new RARE logo, designed by Russ.  Prints of Russ’s original artwork will be available for purchase, with proceeds supporting The RARE Group.  $40 per seat with an RSVP for the painting party are required.  The reception is free and all are welcome. Refreshments will be served.
Follow this link to make reservations for the painting party.

coot 2

How Coot!

While The RARE Group’s primary focus is working with raptors, we do occasionally receive a non-raptor visitor in need of care, rehabilitation, and healing.  Case in point: the American Coot.

coot 3

This American Coot arrived at the RARE clinic in mid-April due to a leg injury. RARE volunteers provided the Coot with a feast of natural grasses, plant material, and meal worms – very similar to its diet in the wild. Each day the Coot was treated to swim time in its own “pool” within the safe confines of the clinic. This allowed for exercise, strength building, comfort (floating in water took weight off the Coot’s injured leg), and gave the Coot the opportunity to engage in its natural behavior while still receiving the care it needed.

coot 2

American Coots are migratory waterbirds whose above-water appearance may lead some to believe that they are just an odd (looking) duck: their dark gray-to-black plumage, white sloping forehead and bill, and bright red eyes are indeed an unusual sight. Below the surface, however, things get even more unusual: unlike other waterbirds such as ducks and geese, coots do not have webbed feet. Instead, each one of the Coot’s long toes has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on wet or muddy ground.

coot 1

In the wild, Coots inhabit a variety of freshwater wetlands from prairie ponds to inlets, marshes, reservoirs, along the edges of lakes, and even in roadside ditches. They prefer heavy stands of emergent aquatic vegetation along at least some portion of the shoreline. Nests are almost always built over water on floating platforms and almost always associated with dense stands of living or dead vegetation such as reeds, cattails, bulrushes, sedges, and grasses. As migratory visitors to the Midwest, Coots arrive in the spring and summer months to breed and nest, returning to the southeastern US in the winter. Some Coots also live year-round in the southern and western portions of the US as well as Mexico, Central America, Cuba, and the Caribbean.

coots wild

To learn more about the American Coot, check out the links below.  And as always, follow The RARE Group on Facebook and subscribe to the RARE blog for updates, events, and to learn more about raptor rehabilitation.

Audubon Society

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds