Raptor Emergencies Call or Text 406-210-3468

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide the best possible care, rehabilitation, and eventual release of injured raptors.  We believe it is our moral obligation to protect and conserve our wildlife and natural resources for future generations through rehabilitation, education, and outreach programs. We strive to cooperate and coordinate with other organizations and agencies in our endeavors.

A Brief History

Brooke Tanner founded Wild Skies Raptor Center in March of 2010, after the closure of the Grounded Eagle Foundation in Condon, MT. While developing Wild Skies, Brooke was sub-permitted under Judy Hoy, a renowned rehabber in Stevensville from 2010-2015. Jesse Varnado joined the Wild Skies team in 2012 after learning wildlife rehab and raptor handling skills at Montana Wild in Helena, MT. In 2014, they acquired 12.5 acres of mostly forested property near Potomac, MT. They began renovating existing buildings and constructing new facilities to provide the best possible care for injured raptors. Their efforts have focused on quality of care and life for injured and education birds and using sustainable and/or salvaged materials wherever possible. They have also developed the site to better host the general public.

Wild Skies Raptor Center received 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2010 and has all necessary permits for raptor rehabilitation and education through US Fish & Wildlife Migratory Bird Office and MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Brooke has also been sub-permitted under Raptor View Research Institute’s USGS Banding Permit and has banded around 200 rehabilitated raptors, including 20 Eagles, since 2011.

Meet Wild Skies

Brooke Tanner holding Great Grey Owl in the snow

Brooke Tanner, Founder and Executive Director

Brooke was born in Toledo, OH and moved to Montana in 2002 after graduating from Veterinary Technician school in Colorado. She got her start rehabilitating raptors at the Ground Eagle Foundation in Condon, MT from 2006-2009. Brooke founded Wild Skies Raptor Center in March of 2010 after Grounded Eagle closed. Brooke’s background in veterinary medicine and continued work at the Missoula Veterinary Clinic give her a unique perspective on wildlife rehabilitation, the long-term care of education birds, collaborative approaches to care and treatment, and potential research applications for the work she does. Her dedication, passion, and commitment to raptors and other wildlife is evident in her educational programs. Few people have the heart or stamina for rehabilitation work, and Brooke does.

Jesse Varnado, Assistant Director

Jesse was born and raised in Helena, MT. He is an avid outdoorsman and talented wildlife photographer (nearly all of the photos on this site were taken by him and he is the owner of the photography site eyeinthewild.com). While volunteering at Montana Wild in Helena from 2008-2012, he gained experience in wildlife rehab and raptor handling skills and found he was a natural for this type of work. Jesse’s calm demeanor, dedication, and level of care are evident in all of the work he does for Wild Skies and these attributes make him excellent at rescuing birds that are in a fragile state. He is selfless in his work!!

Jesse Varnado holding golden eagle

Our Board

Estelle Shuttleworth releasing a raptor

Estelle Shuttleworth, DVM

Estelle was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, but her family immigrated to the United States when she was three. She proudly became a naturalized citizen at the age of eight. Estelle grew up on the East Coast and in the Midwest, receiving her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in 1976. After a satisfying and successful career in her chosen profession, Estelle retired to the Bitterroot Valley in 2011, a place that had stolen her heart the first time she visited in 1988.

These days Estelle spends as much time outside in the Valley as possible, either hiking, fishing, gardening, photographing, or most importantly, rescuing raptors. As medicine has always been her Passion, it was a natural fit to become involved with Wild Skies Raptor Center and Brooke. She is excited to be part of an organization that recognizes the importance of preserving our natural world and its inhabitants. Estelle looks forward to doing her part in supporting this great organization’s mission and goals.

"In wilderness is the preservation of the world." ~Henry David Thoreau

Mat Seidensticker, M.S.

Mat came to the board of Wild Skies in xx and has helped wherever needed since. He earned Wildlife Biology (B.Sc. 2000) and Environmental Studies (M.Sc. 2011) degrees from the University of Montana where he developed broad interests in wildlife research and natural history. After graduation in 2000, Mat worked over a decade with the Owl Research Institute conducting field studies on Snowy, Long-eared, Saw-whet, Flammulated, Pygmy, and Northern Hawk Owls in Alaska and Montana. It was during his graduate research on Flammulated Owls that Mat developed a passion for moths and insects.

In 2015, he began working with the avian science team at MPG Ranch conducting research on Common Poorwills and Nighthawks, Flammulated Owls, Saw-whet Owls, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, insects, and moths. In 2019, Mat formed Northern Rockies Research & Educational Services and started the Montana Moth Project to advance scientific research and monitoring of moths and insects in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, and beyond. He currently serves as this organization’s Executive Director.

Mat Seidensticker holding a cecropia moth
Kate Stone

Kate Stone, M.S.

Kate joined the Wild Skies board in 2021 after volunteering for several years doing injured raptor capture and transport in the Bitterroot Valley. She moved to Montana in 2001 after receiving an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology from Middlebury College. She received an M.S. in Forestry from the University of Montana in 2003 after several summers of picking up and making meaning out of snowshoe hare poop. Kate has spent the past 10 years piloting the Avian Science team at the MPG Ranch, a private conservation organization in the Bitterroot Valley, where she works with species like the Lewis’s Woodpecker, Common Poorwill, Common Nighthawk, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Some of her work on scavenger ecology in the Bitterroot Valley has prompted engagement and research collaborations on the topic of lead poisoning in eagles and other scavengers. She also serves on the Boards of Bitterroot Audubon and the Ravalli County Open Lands Program and is an active member of the Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

Kate hopes to support and strengthen Wild Skies’ research objectives, collaborations with agencies and other organizations, and public engagement on topics addressing common causes of raptor intake to rehabilitation. She loves cats- both wild and domestic (when indoors or lounging in a catio). She shares a birthday with Wild Skies ED Brooke Tanner!