Nesting Birds of Prey:

Birds of Prey in Winter:
A Study in Adaptation
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, January 2006
Instructor: Gail Farmer, Research Biologist
Contact Information: Acopian Center for Conservation Learning
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
410 Summer Valley Rd
Orwigsburg, PA 17961
570-943-3411 ext. 107
[email protected]
Tentative Schedule (weather pending):
Friday, January 27, 7 - 9 pm – Introductory lecture.
Saturday, January 28th, 8 am - 4 pm – Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area for Northern
Harriers and Rough-legged Hawks.
Sunday, January 29th, 8 am – 2 pm -- Field trip to chicken farm for Red-tailed Hawks and
Kempton road survey route.
Field Logisitics:
Binoculars and a field guide are essential (you won’t enjoy the trips if the birds are just
specks in the sky or trees). Dress for cold weather, wear layers. Bring your lunch! If you
are going to miss a field trip please call my office by 8 AM that morning.
Course Objectives:
This course will examine how the complex interactions among raptors and their environments
influence their behavior and biology in winter. Students taking the class for credit through
Cedar Crest College are required to write a paper reviewing and updating information on one
or more aspects of raptor winter ecology, see the attached handout for more detailed
instructions and a list of references. This paper is due 15 March (by 5pm) and must be
Course requirements:
Your grade will be based equally upon field participation (spotting and helping to identify
birds [50]) and a term paper, see below [50%].
Suggested Reading:
Bildstein, Keith L. 1987. Behavioral ecology of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis),
Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) and
American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in South Central Ohio. Ohio Biol. Surv. Biol.
Notes No. 18 viii + 53 p.
Craighead, J. J. and F. C. Craighead. 1956. Hawks, Owls, and Wildlife. Stackpole,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Course Project:
Students taking the class for credit through Cedar Crest College must complete and submit a
term paper to receive course credit. The paper must be received no later than 15
MARCH, 5PM, and must be typed. Papers should be sent to me by email
([email protected]), I will send a reply stating that I have received the paper. If you do not
receive this confirmation, then it is best to assume that I have not received it and try again or
give me a call. There is no limit on the length of the paper or the number of references cited
therein; however, I suggest papers of between 5 and 15 double spaced pages with at least 6
references. Papers should include an unnumbered title page, including your name and
current address, the main text, and a fully documented Literature Cited section using the
format of the “Wintering Raptors – Selected Bibliography” handout you received during the
Papers should review and up-date information on one or more aspects of raptor wintering
ecology presented in Frank and John Craighead’s 1956 classic work “Hawk, Owls, and
Wildlife.” Appropriate topics include caching behavior, hunting behavior, hover-hunting,
perch hunting, aggression, piracy, diet, habitat use, gender related differences, etc., in one or
more species of over-wintering raptors. Questions concerning other appropriate subjects for
the paper should be directed to your instructor.
Use of the Acopian Center library:
The Acopian Center library is open from 9-5 Monday through Friday and weekends by
appointment. The Acopian Center library is a non-lending open to Hawk Mountain members
and students taking classes at Hawk Mountain. If you wish to use the library please email in
advance when you would like to use the library. A photocopier is available for “reasonable”
amounts of photocopying.
Additional references can be found in the following journals:
Animal Behavior
Conservation Biology
Journal of Animal Ecology
Journal of Field Ornithology
Journal of Raptor Research
Journal of Wildlife Management
Wilson Bulletin ( for issues 1899-1999
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