Migration at Gibraltar: Boise State University Raptor Biology Graduate Students Gain International Perspective in Spain
Source Newsroom: Boise State University
Newswise — Boise State University's one-of-a-kind master's degree program in raptor biology and partnering Idaho Bird Observatory have soared to new heights with the establishment of the Fall Migration Travel Award.
The raptor biology program has long provided students with a unique graduate experience aimed at understanding the science and conservation of birds of prey. The Idaho Bird Observatory now enhances that experience by offering qualified students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of raptor biology in an international setting.
Last summer, graduate students Micah Scholer and Martina Zucchini traveled to Tarifa, Spain, for three months to work with non-profit and sister organization to the Idaho Bird Observatory, Fundación Migres. The students learned about the population dynamics of migratory birds, the ecology of European raptors and exchanged cultural experiences with the Spanish people.
“For a raptor biologist such as myself, the chance to participate in monitoring one of the world’s greatest avian migrations presented an extraordinary opportunity for me to develop as a professional, in addition to gaining a new cultural perspective,” Scholer said.
Scholer is returning to Spain later this month to spend another three months as a volunteer coordinator and work on research collaborations with Fundación Migres’ preparing manuscripts for publication.
Fundación Migres’ mission is to monitor population changes of migratory birds in Spain and the rest of Western Europe. Their migration observatories are situated on the coast of Spain looking out across the Strait of Gibraltar. Each year, hundreds of thousands of soaring birds and an estimated 20-40 million songbirds pass through this area as they cross the Strait at its narrowest point on their voyage between Europe and Africa. This makes the Strait an excellent place to study the phenomenon of avian migration.
Scholer and Zucchini helped count 29 different species of nearly 400,000 birds. More information about the project is available at the Fundación Migres web site.
For more information on the travel award or program, contact Idaho Bird Observatory Director Greg Kaltenecker at 426-4354 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or biology professor Marc Bechard at 426-3530 or email@example.com.