A critical aspect of the master plan for the new Willowbrook Wildlife Center is ensuring continuity of care for the center’s patients and permanent residents. The project schedule is carefully organized into phases that simultaneously maximize progress and minimize disruption.

Phase A: New structure on the northern portion of the site

The first phase includes the construction of a new raptor barn to rehabilitate birds of prey, animal enclosures for carnivores, and a large rain garden connected to the forest preserve’s stream.

Phase B: New clinic building on the southern portion of the site

Upon the completion of Phase A, permanent residents currently living on the south side of the property will move to their new homes so work can begin on the new clinic and visitor’s center.

Phases C/D

Once the new clinic is complete, the final phases will include the demolition of the old clinic, the addition of waterfowl and songbird enclosures, and the renovation of existing buildings.

This spring, the first project milestone, Phase A, will be complete, and the Raptor Barn will be ready for its occupants in the coming weeks. Designed to meet the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council and National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation, the new Raptor Barn incorporates unique features that support the phased recovery of patients and residents:

  • The structure provides shelter to the raptors, but includes areas open to the elements to slowly reintroduce animals to living outdoors, in preparation for release into the wild. The roof and walls are designed as wood planks with gaps to allow rain and airflow while providing visual privacy to the birds. The building’s “L” shape and high roof provide a clear line of site for flight assessment to ensure birds are fully rehabilitated before release. The structure includes flush walls and no ledges to keep birds safe and prevent them from perching out of reach of rehabilitators.
  • The front of the barn includes a row of enclosures that will house permanent residents and can be re-purposed in the future for patients.
  • The large roof with extended eaves is designed to accommodate many solar panels as part of the center’s Net Zero Energy goals. The installation of the solar panels will happen later in Phase B.

As the clinic staff prepares for moving day, we are excited for the patients and residents to experience their new habitats. Follow our blog and watch their website for real-time updates on their progress!

WWC Raptor Barn Resident Area
WWC Raptor Barn Interior Corridor
WWC Raptor Barn Aerial
WWC Raptor Barn Flight Long

Check out the New Flight Barn at Willowbrook Wildlife Center