The RRF will be hosting a day of workshops on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at the annual conference.  Workshops are available to all conference participants with discounted rates available for students and Early Career Raptor Researchers (<3 years post-graduation) that are current members of RRF.

Workshops will be taught by leading experts and will focus on hands-on skill-building that is typically not available in traditional undergraduate or graduate classes. Courses lengths vary from 4-5 hours and will be scheduled to allow participants to select from a variety of courses throughout the day. Class sizes will be up to 20 students per class to provide an intimate and interactive learning environment. All raptor carcasses are used with federal and state permissions and copies of salvage permits are available upon request. A lunch break is scheduled between 1200 and 1330 and participants are responsible for their own food.  There are many restaurants within short walking distance of the conference venue.

Please note the workshops will occur on the day before the scientific program commences and will require that participates arrive at the conference venue by 8:00 am on Wednesday, October 18. A fee will be charged for each workshop to help defray room rental and supplies.

Advanced Molt and Aging in Raptors

Course Description: Molt is a necessary, yet costly stage in the annual cycle of a raptor. Because of this, detailed molt data can be a powerful research tool. In this workshop we will first focus on learning the basics of molt, from terminology and bird topography to molt nodes and sequence. From this foundation, we will discuss how to use molt patterns to determine the age of birds from photos of in-flight and in-hand individuals. Finally, we will put this knowledge to use in group discussions of photos, and of spread-wings from museum specimens. Participants will come away with a greater understanding of molt and its use in raptor research.

Instructors: Jesse Watson, HawkWatch International; Nicole Richardson, Independent Researcher; Andy Johnson, University of New Mexico.

Length: (4 hrs) Time: 0800 – 1200

Class size: 25

Cost: Regular Rate $60. Discounted ECRR Rate $25.

Harnessing Raptors with Transmitters

Course Description: This class will cover the process of attaching transmitters (either VHF, satellite, or GSM) to raptors, from initial thoughts of the bird’s welfare to specifics of making backpack harnesses and attaching telemetry units to birds. We will discuss and demonstrate several different options and methods for making harnesses, different attachment techniques (e.g., tailmount, patagial), and types of transmitters. The majority of the class will be hands-on, using a backpack harness to attach a transmitter to carcasses of different-sized raptors.

Instructors: Tricia Miller, PhD, Conservation Science Global, Inc.; Vince Slabe, PhD, Conservation Science Global, Inc.; Mike Lanzone, Cellular Tracking Technologies

Length: half day + (5 hrs)  Time: 0800 – 1300

Class size: 20

Cost: Regular Rate $65. Discounted ECRR Rate $30.

Techniques for Handling, Auxiliary Marking, and Measuring Raptors after Capture

Course Description: This course will provide participants with experience in basic raptor handling, banding, auxiliary marking, and measuring using different field techniques. Participants will have the opportunity to practice deciding on the appropriate band size for both large and small raptors, application of lock-on and butt-end bands, band removal, as well as learn about different types of auxiliary markers like color bands and patagial markers. This will be a classroom-based course.

Instructors: John Smallwood, PhD, Montclair State University; Teresa Ely, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory; others TBD.

Length: half day (4 hrs).   Time: 1300 – 1700.

Class size: 24

Cost: Regular Rate $60. Discounted ECRR Rate $25.

All about permits – U.S. permit types and requirements for raptor studies and management

Course Description: This course will provide participants with an overview of the types of federal and state permits that may be required when studying or working with raptors, as well as the general requirements and procedures for obtaining the necessary authorizations. The course will also cover general requirements and procedures for obtaining necessary Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approvals for research projects involving raptors. Although specific requirements for permits and IACUC authorizations will vary among states and institutions, participants in this workshop will gain enough background to know when a permit or IACUC approval might be required, what type of authorization they may need to obtain, and the background training and application procedures that might be required to obtain the necessary approvals.

Instructors: Kristin Madden, USFWS; Brian Millsap, PhD, New Mexico State University (retired USFWS); Kirsten McDonnell, USFWS; Jennifer Davis, USFWS; and Antonio Celis-Murillo, PhD, Bird Banding Laboratory, USGS, Clint Boal, PhD, Texas Tech University

Length: half day (4 hrs). Time: 1300-1700

Class size: 25

Cost: Regular Rate $50. Discounted ECRR Rate $20.

Necropsy and Sample Collection

Course Description:  Intended for all those who handle birds of prey, both in the field and in captivity, and who need to take biomedical samples in live and dead birds. You will learn how to properly handle and secure the birds – a skill critical to taking quality biomedical samples while avoiding accidents and injuries, which can sometimes be severe if these procedures are not performed correctly. Methods and techniques for collecting a wide range of biomedical samples will be presented and discussed

Instructors: Christine Fiorello, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACZM; Nicole Nemeth, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP, others TBD

Length: half day (4 hrs). Time: 0800-1200

Class size: 20

Cost: ACZM credit $70. Regular Rate $60. Discounted ECRR Rate $25.

Fundamentals of Bayesian Modeling

Course Description: Software, such as JAGS, Stan, and NIMBLE, along with tons of code available on the internet and elsewhere, have made fitting complex Bayesian hierarchical models to data easier.  However, applying these models and correctly interpreting the results still require a solid foundation in the fundamentals of Bayesian statistics.  This course will not focus on a particular type of analysis, but rather cover some fundamentals of Bayesian modeling, including the basics of Bayesian inference, priors and how to choose them, conjugacy, fitting models to data, and some general hierarchical models.  We will dive into Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), including how to code simple MCMC algorithms from scratch in R, as well as how to use software, such as JAGS and Stan.  We will apply some basic nest success and resource selection models (and possibly others) to raptor data as motivating examples.  If you’d like to follow along and run code, a laptop with R, Rstudio, JAGS, and Stan (and possibly NIMBLE) installed is recommended.  The material will primarily be geared toward graduate students and other researchers that have experience or have had coursework in applied statistics or biometrics and using R for data analysis, including (generalized) linear modeling or other frequentist approaches, but are interested in learning what Bayesian statistics is all about.  If you have questions about whether this course is well suited for you, please reach out to the instructor before signing up for the course.

Instructors: Joseph Eisaguirre, PhD, USGS Alaska Science Center.

Time: half day (4 hrs).  Time: 1300-1700

Class size: 25

Cost: Regular Rate $60. Discounted ECRR Rate $25.