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Current Raptor Biology Student Projects

The Master of Science in Raptor Biology is designed for students holding a bachelor’s degree in one of the disciplines of the biological sciences to enhance their knowledge and understanding of raptor biology and ecology.

See what the current Raptor Biology graduate students are doing!

  • Brian Busby holding 2 barn owls

    Brian Busby

    My research examines how roads and other landscape features impact occupancy, productivity, and survival in a local population of Barn Owls, a species prone to high traffic mortality rates. I am also exploring how roads affect the movement behavior of Barn Owls, hopefully, to better inform future conservation actions to mitigate vehicular collisions.

    My research examines how roads and other landscape features impact occupancy, productivity, and survival in a local population of Barn Owls, a species prone to high traffic mortality rates. I am also exploring how roads affect the movement behavior of Barn Owls, hopefully, to better inform future conservation actions to mitigate vehicular collisions.

  • Brent Clark with small male Burrowing Owl

    Brent Clark

    My research focuses on a local burrowing owl population in portions of the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area within southwestern Idaho in which I am exploring how kinship is structured in the population, developing a better understanding of population dynamics, and determining what factors influence lifetime reproductive success.

    My research focuses on a local burrowing owl population in portions of the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area within southwestern Idaho in which I am exploring how kinship is structured in the population, developing a better understanding of population dynamics, and determining what factors influence lifetime reproductive success.

  • Michael Gordon holding a Barn Owl, photo credit: Amanda Hancock

    Michael Gordon

    Like snowflakes and fingerprints, it may be said that no two barn owls are alike. I am investigating the extent of variability in barn owl plumage colors between individuals and the evolutionary drivers behind their expression.

    Like snowflakes and fingerprints, it may be said that no two barn owls are alike. I am investigating the extent of variability in barn owl plumage colors between individuals and the evolutionary drivers behind their expression.

  • Sara Pourzamani doing measurements on a Burrowing Owl. (Photo by John Kelly)

    Sara Pourzamani

    My research will focus on predation, nest defense, and communication in Western Burrowing Owls within the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho to document the characteristics of burrowing owl nest defense and alarm calling.

    My research will focus on predation, nest defense, and communication in Western Burrowing Owls within the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho to document the characteristics of burrowing owl nest defense and alarm calling.

  • Sadie Ranck holding American Kestrel chick

    Sadie Ranck

    My research focuses on the patterns and consequences of individual migration strategies of American kestrels in the effort to further our knowledge of what conditions may be interacting to influence migration patterns and the timing of life cycle events in migratory birds.

    My research focuses on the patterns and consequences of individual migration strategies of American kestrels in the effort to further our knowledge of what conditions may be interacting to influence migration patterns and the timing of life cycle events in migratory birds.

  • Skyler Swiecki

    Working thesis title – Proximate Factors in Natal Dispersal: The role of Body Condition. Belthoff and Dufty (1998) developed a model of dispersal in western screech-owls that posits that corticosterone increases mediate the locomotor activity that underlies dispersal behavior. While there is correlative evidence for the model’s body condition prediction (i.e., dominant individuals disperse before subordinates), I want to test this aspect of the model experimentally.

    Working thesis title – Proximate Factors in Natal Dispersal: The role of Body Condition. Belthoff and Dufty (1998) developed a model of dispersal in western screech-owls that posits that corticosterone increases mediate the locomotor activity that underlies dispersal behavior. While there is correlative evidence for the model’s body condition prediction (i.e., dominant individuals disperse before subordinates), I want to test this aspect of the model experimentally.

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