SIOUX CITY (KCAU)– While on the road or out hunting, Siouxlanders should keep an eye out for injured birds of prey, otherwise known as raptors.

A local raptor rehabilitator said she’s seen an increase in raptor calls in the past 30 days, but while the cause of this increase isn’t clear, all Siouxlanders can help protect wildlife.

“The most common injury seems to be hit by vehicles, a lot of wing injuries, a lot of head injuries, some birds are also shot. Whether that is by accident or on purpose,” said Theresa Kruid, naturalist at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.

“This time of year, we do see a lot of the lead poisoning in the bald eagles. Last year was a tough year for me because I had brought in a few that had that,” said Amanda Hase, an Iowa wildlife rehabilitator.

Local wild-life rehabilitators want Siouxlanders to help protect our native raptors. There are many simple  ways to keep raptors safe, such as properly throwing away trash.

“Not littering even if it’s, like, an apple core. You think, ‘That’s gonna biodegrade out the window if I toss it,’ but then that food can attract a mouse or some other rodent and that will in turn attract a bird of prey or raptor. Then therefore they are closer to the road and then get hit,” said Kruid.

If Siouxlanders see an injured bird, they’re advised to not try and pick it up. Instead, call the experts like the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“These guys are pretty dangerous and if you’re not trained to handle them or know what they’re capable of, you could really do some harm to yourself or to the animal,” said Hase.

There are more than two dozen native raptor species throughout Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota and each are a crucial part of the environment.

“You know, just protecting these guys in every way that we can is important and it does help our ecosystem and conservation together as a whole,” said Hase.

“I don’t know about anybody else, but I do not like mice in my house, so if we were to get rid of all the Red Tails, per say, or all the owls, per say, you know, that’s one of their food that they eat. Without those raptors there would be more mice,” said Kruid.

Wildlife rehabilitators only release injured raptors or other animals once they’ve healed or recovered completely and they will try to release the animals away from human populations if possible.