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Raptor biology student receives award from the Raptor Research Foundation

Raptor biology master’s student Brian Busby recently received the William C. Andersen Memorial Best Student Paper Award at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Raptor Research Foundation. His presentation, “Roads as potential novel predators of wildlife: are barn owls nonresponders?” focused on his graduate thesis research to understand the movements of barn owls with respect to roads. He used state-of-the-art tracking technology to detail owls’ movements across roads. He found that owls crossed roads less than expected and accelerated their flight speeds when they did.

These two lines of evidence suggest that rather than being nonresponders, barn owls share some behavioral characteristics with animals that are classified as speeders and avoiders. The work was carried out over two years. Busby plans to graduate in May 2022. He hails from New Paltz, New York, and received his bachelor of science degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2015.

Recipients of the Andersen Memorial Award receive a cash award, plaque, free membership in Raptor Research Foundation, and page charges for one paper to be published in the Journal of Raptor Research.

Busby joins a long list of other outstanding raptor biology graduate students who have been recognized by the Anderson Award for the best student paper at the annual conference. They include:

  • Ariana Dickson (2019) – Non-target exposure of toxicants to raptors: anticoagulant rodenticides and ferruginous hawks
  • Tempe Regan (2015) – Barn owl roadway mortality in southern Idaho
  • Jamie Wade (2014) – Behavioral responses of burrowing owls to experimental brood parasitism
  • Travis Booms (2008) – Molted raptor feather persistence and aging in a sub-arctic environment: implications for non-invasive genetic sampling
  • Corey Riding (2004) – Effects of nest cleanliness on burrow re-use by burrowing owls
  • Ryan Brady (2001) – Effects of mammalian dung on predation of burrowing owl nests
  • Brian Smith (1999) – Ectoparasites on burrowing owls: potential effects on nest site re-use, and growth, body condition, and survival of juveniles
  • Brian Smith (1998) – Effects of chamber size and tunnel diameter on use of artificial nest burrows by burrowing owls
  • Brian Herting (1997) – Testosterone-induced variation in the vocalizations of male western screech-owls
  • R. Andrew King (1995) – Effects of experimental food addition on the post-fledging movements of burrowing owls in southwestern Idaho