Willowbrook Wildlife Center at Willowbrook Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn is a native wildlife rehabilitation and education facility that has provided care and medical treatment to injured and orphaned wild animals for more than 60 years. It also serves as a resource to teach visitors about living in harmony with local wildlife. The center welcomes more than 120,000 visitors and treats more than 9,000 animals each year.
Willowbrook’s raptor outreach program uses eight permanently disabled raptors to enhance its educational message and encourage an understanding about the relationship between the handlers, birds and visitors.
Today, these raptors are housed in a dorm that is small and limited in meeting the program's and birds' housing needs. A new, open-air raptor house (PDF) will feature 12 enclosures of various sizes and a weathering area to provide the raptors with enriching and visually stimulating experiences. The 36 feet by 45 feet wood-framed structure will have a concrete foundation and wood slat walls. The dorms will accommodate a variety of raptors, pairs and sizes. One dorm will also include a small concrete pond.
The project is currently in the design phase, and construction plans and permitting are expected to be complete by spring 2018.
Design, permitting and construction costs for the housing total $327,000. Funding will be covered by private donations, Night Owl Benefit donations and an estate gift to the center.