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Raptor Biology Graduate Program

Boise State University’s unique Master of Science in Raptor Biology graduate program enhances students’ knowledge and understanding of raptor biology and ecology. Key to graduate students’ experience is proximity to the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, home to one of the greatest concentrations of nesting birds of prey in the world.

Raptor Biology Graduate Student News

The following M.S. Raptor Biology students were each awarded $1500 from the Trustee Fellowship in Raptor Biology Fund in April 2022: Rebecca Bishop, David Bontrager, Michaela Gustafson, Nora Honkomp, Eden Ravecca, Ashley Santiago, and Eve Thomason. These fellowship awards provide support to these students as they continue their research during the summer months without graduate assistantship income. The awards are made possible by an endowment from theUniversity Foundation.

Eden Ravecca‘s research on prairie falcons in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area was described in a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service article on April 13, 2022 – Restoration and Robots: Boise State Student Eden Ravecca Tracks Prairie Falcons to Inform Conservation Efforts.

Nora Honkomp was selected by the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University as the 2022 recipient of the Dan Montgomery Graduate Student Award. This award is given annually to a deserving graduate student conducting research-based graduate studies in the biological sciences.

Brian Busby defended his thesis, “The Effects of Roads on Movement, Flight Dynamics, Occupancy, and Productivity in Barn Owls (Tyto Alba),” on the afternoon of 3/11/2022. Brian’s advisor is Dr. Jim Belthoff, and his committee included Dr. Trevor Caughlin (Biological Sciences) and Dr. Chris McClure (The Peregrine Fund).

Sadie Ranck defended her thesis, “Sex, body size and winter weather explain migration strategies in a partial migrant population of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius),” on the morning of 3/4/2022. Sadie’s advisor is Dr. Julie Heath, and her committee included Dr. Matthew Kohn (Geosciences) and Dr. Amy Ulappa (Biological Sciences).

Brian Busby received the William C. Andersen Memorial Best Student Paper Award at the Annual Meeting of the Raptor Research Foundation in October 2021 with his paper and presentation “Roads as potential novel predators of wildlife: are barn owls nonresponders?” His graduate thesis research uses state-of-the-art tracking technology to understand the movements of barn owls with respect to roads and road mortalities.

Eden Ravecca won the Idaho Chapter of The Wildlife Society (ICTWS) Management, Conservation, and Education Grant in the amount of $2,000 as well as the Wildlife & People’s Choice Photo Contest Award with “Raptorial Beauty-Barred Owl” at the 2021 ICTWS conference. The awarded funds will be used to purchase field equipment to be used in Eden’s graduate research on her project “Are Predators Able to Adapt to Landscape Changes in the Sagebrush Steppe?”

Eden Ravecca and advisor Dr. Jen Cruz were featured in an Idaho Statesman article on August 5, 2021, regarding their research on Prairie Falcons: “These falcons fly with little backpacks. What do Boise State scientists hope to learn?

Raptor Biology Graduate Program Alumni News

Check out news on Boise State University Raptor Biology graduates!

Master's Research Advice for Life

Travis Booms '02

Rescuing Ridgway's Hawk

Christine Hayes '19

A Golden Eagle's Mysterious Death

Steve Lewis '01

‘Frequent Fliers’: American kestrels Take to the Skies...

Hanna McCaslin '19

Master of Science in Raptor Biology

Prospective and Current Students

Visit the College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Program page for an overview of Boise State University’s unique Master of Science in Raptor Biology graduate program, courses offered, opportunities, research, and how to apply.

Or learn about what our current students are researching:

Explore Current Students’ Projects

Alumni Research

Visit Boise State University’s ScholarWorks to search Raptor Biology students’ thesis research abstracts and full-text thesis information directly.

Or explore alumni research in-depth:

Raptor Biology Alumni Research

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