Iowa Hawkeyes Return a Fan Favorite to Kinnick Stadium
If you attend a Hawkeye football game this season and happen to notice a real live hawk flying around the stadium, just know, that it's no coincidence. You may have even noticed this last year during football games. A live hawk will be flying over the crowds at Kinnick Stadium for the second year in a row, according to KCRG.
As fitting as it is to have a hawk flying over a football game being played by a group of Hawkeyes, there is good reason for having the pseudo-mascot present during games. Dave Conrads is the Director of the UI WILD Department for the University of Iowa College of Education and he spoke to KCRG about Iowa's landscape and habitats.
Iowa is the most altered landscape in the nation and so our wild habitats are really threatened and endangered.
According to Hawkeye Sports, the Iowa Raptor Project's mission is to "connect students and community to the conservation of birds of prey and their natural habitats through research and education."
One of the coolest parts about the birds you will see at hawkeye games (and other athletic events) is that they are native to Iowa.
Just like the Hawkeye football players, these birds have been working hard to be prepared for the upcoming season. They've been training for about a month and a half and so far the flights have been going well. Dave Conrads spoke to KCRG about the practice sessions and how important these birds have been to the Iowa Raptor Project.
It’s pretty intense and especially when we’re flying birds it’s like they’re wild birds but they’re well trained, but you still always wonder you know is it going to fly well. We have so many people that come through the Iowa Raptor Project that have never been to our place before saying that we saw you either at Kinnick or in the winter time at Carver
If at any point during the Hawkeye football season you happen to see a red-tailed hawk flying around the stadium just remember it's flying for more than just entertainment. It's flying to remind all of us about the importance of maintaining Iowa's healthy landscapes and habits.