• Yozora Leal presented a thesis defense on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 10 a.m.  The thesis is titled “Home Range Characteristics of Breeding Saker (*Falco Cherrug*) at Artificial Nest Sites in Central Mongolia.”
  • Eli Cinto Mejia presented a thesis defense on Friday, June 2, 2017.  The thesis is titled “Landscape-Scale Manipulation of the Acoustic Environment Alters the Distribution of Breeding Birds and Arthropods.”
  • Bio 497/597 – Eastern African Raptors.  This class was offered 1/2/17 – 1/10/17.  The class is designed for students with an interest in the ecology and conservation of East African raptors.  The class has both a lecture and field research format.  Classes take place at Lake Naivasha (3 days) and Masai Mara National Park (4 days).  Daily lectures focus on African raptor ecology and conservation issues threatening their populations, and field work includes surveys of the raptor communities in the parks.  During surveys, elephants, lions, giraffes, zebra, impala, wildebeest, and water buffalo are frequently seen as well as Secretary Birds and Ostriches.  The course is a unique opportunity and an unforgettable experience for students.  Read the article by Kathleen Tuck.  Read more about the Kenya project and view the amazing photographs by Boise State University photographer John Kelly.
  • New Research Shows Owls’ Ability to Hunt Impaired by Noise ~ The study by Jesse Barber, assistant professor of biology at Boise State University, and Tate Mason, Boise State alumnus and education coordinator for The Peregrine Fund, is the first to examine the impact of noise on a predatory bird. Their findings were recently published in the journal Biological Conservation under the title “Anthropogenic noise impairs owl hunting behavior.”
Two vultures collide in the air above Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa. Photo by John Kelly.
Two vultures collide in the air above Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa. Photo by John Kelly.
  • John Kelly, manager of photographic services, was on assignment in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa, with Dr. Marc Bechard, the Director of Boise State University’s Raptor Research Center, and Greg Kaltenecker, Executive Director of Boise State’s Intermountain Bird Observatory, in May 2016. A team of raptor biologists trapped vultures in Gorongosa National Park. Of the five vulture species found in Gorongosa, four are listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List as endangered or critically endangered. They were accompanied by a National Geographic film crew while in the park.  See photos and read the story by Kathleen Tuck.
  • Work by biologist Julie Heath was featured in an article in The Birding Wire, a service of the Outdoor Wire Digital Network.  Read the story and the article.
  • The 2016 issue of Boise State Explore magazine focuses on environmental discovery and highlights some of the depth and breadth of the research in ecology, evolution and behavior being conducted at Boise State University. In addition to the print version, the first-ever online companion to the magazine is now available online at, featuring expanded content, videos and additional photos.  The issue features several articles focusing on research pertaining to raptors and raptor biology:
  • Dr. Jim Belthoffs research on burrowing owls was featured in Wired magazine. The story talks about the fleas that infest the birds and their burrows, and which can carry the bacteria that causes plague. Belthoff’s work shows that the owls appear to be immune to the ailment, which presents the opportunity to test if the owls could protect humans from plague. Read the full story (and watch a video) here:
  • Where in the World? Tarifa, Spain
    The Raptor Research Center and the Intermountain Bird Observatory work with Fundacion Migres on an exciting international migration project in Spain! Hundreds of thousands of raptors migrate from Europe across the Mediterranean Sea at the Strait of Gibraltar. Learn about Boise State University’s collaborative research at the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain.Raptor Biologist and Raptor Research Center Director, Dr. Marc Bechard, and Intermountain Bird Observatory Executive Director, Greg Kaltenecker, discuss the relationship between Fundacion Migres and Boise State on this YouTube:  Boise State University Raptor Research in Tarifa, SpainSee also the Photo of the Week – September 15 and share in the experience of visiting Tarifa, Spain, and volunteering with the wildlife monitoring program with Fundacion Migres.Read BSU raptor biology grad Rob Miller’s blog for updates on the research work being done on the international migration project in Spain with Fundacion Migres.
  • Neil Paprocki, a 2013 graduate of the Raptor Biology master’s degree program at Boise State University, has produced and directed a film entitled Bluebird ManBluebird Man is a half-hour documentary film about bluebird conservation and citizen science.  The film was selected for the 2014 International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana, and was screened there on April 13th, 2014, and in Boise, Idaho, on June 13th, 2014, as a part of the North American Bluebird Society’s annual conference.  Bluebird Man was also broadcast on Idaho Public Television channels.


    • Marc Bechard, Department of Biological Science, was a founder of the Raptor Biology graduate program of Boise State University, and he has advised more than 40 graduate students on research of a variety of topics and  species since his arrival at Boise State in 1983.  He is recognized as a leading raptor biologist nationally and internationally. He founded several birds of prey conservation programs in Argentina, Spain, Peru and Kenya and has led the effort to protect endangered falcon and eagle species here and abroad. Marc’s research has led to policy changes in Argentina and Columbia, addressing pesticide use and fish farming practices that were directly endangering Swainson’s hawks and osprey. His research takes him to several other international sites, including Israel to conduct research on the migratory behavior of Levant sparrowhawks, and Turkey and the Republic of Georgia to study honey buzzards and black kites. He has maintained an extremely productive research program, bringing in 58 grants totaling in excess of a million dollars in funding. His research has resulted in more than 65 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and more than 110 presentations at scientific meetings, and many more technical reports to state, federal and international agencies and conservation groups. He has served as associate chair of the Department of Biology and editor in chief for the Journal of Raptor Research.