Skip to main content

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.

 

Student Projects

See what the current Raptor Biology graduate students are doing!

  • Rebecca Bishop Looking for Raptors in a Blind

    Rebecca Bishop

    My research focuses on the resource selection and breeding ecology of the White-headed Vulture, a critically endangered species found in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. To help inform conservation and management decisions, I aim to understand the key habitat and breeding requirements of this species by examining where individual birds go within the environment and by identifying characteristics of nest site locations.

    My research focuses on the resource selection and breeding ecology of the White-headed Vulture, a critically endangered species found in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. To help inform conservation and management decisions, I aim to understand the key habitat and breeding requirements of this species by examining where individual birds go within the environment and by identifying characteristics of nest site locations.

  • David with a Northern Aplomado Falcon chick during banding on Matagorda Island in coastal Texas.

    David Bontrager

    My research focuses on the federally endangered Northern Aplomado Falcon, which was reintroduced to coastal Texas after disappearing from the U.S. in the 1950’s. I am examining the potential impact that Great Horned Owls and habitat encroachment may be having on falcon nesting success.

    My research focuses on the federally endangered Northern Aplomado Falcon, which was reintroduced to coastal Texas after disappearing from the U.S. in the 1950’s. I am examining the potential impact that Great Horned Owls and habitat encroachment may be having on falcon nesting success.

  • 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.

  • Kirsten Fuller dressed in field gear at Grand Canyon National Park

    Kirsten Fuller

    My research is focused on the population dynamics of Mexican spotted owls at Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. I aim to investigate how environmental and anthropogenic effects may influence the occupancy, persistence, and extinction of historical spotted owl territories surveyed using a combination of active and passive methods since the mid-1990s.

    My research is focused on the population dynamics of Mexican spotted owls at Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. I aim to investigate how environmental and anthropogenic effects may influence the occupancy, persistence, and extinction of historical spotted owl territories surveyed using a combination of active and passive methods since the mid-1990s.

  • 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.

  • Nora Honkomp

    I am using citizen science data to determine the timing of autumn departure of migratory raptor species from their North American breeding ranges throughout the last two decades. My research will combine this information with remotely sensed weather data to determine the local environmental conditions around the times of departure. I am hoping to determine factors that affect departure timing and assess the variation in these factors between species and regions. Ultimately, my work may be useful in predicting shifts in raptor migratory timing as climatic conditions change.

    I am using citizen science data to determine the timing of autumn departure of migratory raptor species from their North American breeding ranges throughout the last two decades. My research will combine this information with remotely sensed weather data to determine the local environmental conditions around the times of departure. I am hoping to determine factors that affect departure timing and assess the variation in these factors between species and regions. Ultimately, my work may be useful in predicting shifts in raptor migratory timing as climatic conditions change.

  • 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.

  • Student Eden Ravecca holding a female prairie falcon outfitted with a GPS-GSM transmitter backpack

    Eden Ravecca

    My research is focused on the movement ecology of breeding Prairie Falcons in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. I aim to understand how their foraging movements are influenced by habitat composition, disturbance characteristics, and prey abundances to inform future conservation decisions and restoration strategies.

    My research is focused on the movement ecology of breeding Prairie Falcons in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. I aim to understand how their foraging movements are influenced by habitat composition, disturbance characteristics, and prey abundances to inform future conservation decisions and restoration strategies.

  • Skyler Swiecki

    Skyler Swiecki

    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.

    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.

  • Ashley holding a Golden Eagle nestling on the rim of a canyon

    Ashley Santiago

    My research focuses on how multiple stressors may interact to reduce population size and elevate extinction risk in the local population of golden eagles in the NCA. We are seeing an accelerated decline in territory occupancy of the local population. I am specifically looking into the affects of land cover change and juvenile survival to determine potential drivers for this decline.

    My research focuses on how multiple stressors may interact to reduce population size and elevate extinction risk in the local population of golden eagles in the NCA. We are seeing an accelerated decline in territory occupancy of the local population. I am specifically looking into the affects of land cover change and juvenile survival to determine potential drivers for this decline.

  • Jessica Taylor

    My research is focused on the movement and space-use of breeding American Kestrels across a gradient of urban development in northern Utah. I am investigating the relationship between home-range size and the impacts that may have on nestling health and productivity in land cover types ranging from commercial to wildland.

    My research is focused on the movement and space-use of breeding American Kestrels across a gradient of urban development in northern Utah. I am investigating the relationship between home-range size and the impacts that may have on nestling health and productivity in land cover types ranging from commercial to wildland.

Back To Top