For the second season, a live hawk will fly over crowds at Iowa Hawkeye games but it actually has a deeper message.

The Hawkeyes started the live hawk flyovers last season, and now it's back with a message of conservation.

Obviously, it adds a level of cool to a game to see your own living, breathing mascot at a game in general. I grew up an Arkansas Razorbacks fan, we had 'Tusk', a literal razorback hog on the field. It's nifty. But the Hawkeyes are adding a new 'why' to it.

Dave Conrads, Director of the UI WILD Department in the University of Iowa College of Education, told KCRG:

Iowa is the most altered landscape in the nation and so our wild habitats are really threatened and endangered.


The Hawkeye Raptor Ambassadors

The University of Iowa Athletics Department teamed up with Iowa Raptor Project to spread the mission of conservation through The Raptor Ambassador Program.

According to KCRG, these gorgeous birds have been practicing for a month and a half to fly over the Iowa Hawkeye games this fall.

The Iowa Raptor Project's mission is listed as this:

The IRP’s mission is to connect students and community to the conservation of birds of prey and their natural habitats through research and education.  The IRP achieves its goal to preserve Iowa’s raptor populations and habitats through educational experiences that awaken awareness, nature appreciation, and inspire action, as well as through field research.

Meet The Hawks

According to the university's website, two hawks are in rotation to make the flight.

  • Hercules 2 (a female red-tailed hawk, born 6/1/21)
  • Hercules 3 (a male red-tailed hawk, born 6/3/21)

The practice flights have been successful and the message of conservation is getting across. Conrads also told KCRG:

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.

You can learn more about Iowa Raptor Project here.

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