The RRF will be hosting a day of workshops on Saturday 8 October 2022 at the annual conference. Classes are available to all in-person conference participants with discounted rates available for students and Early Career Raptor Researchers (<3 years post-graduation) that are current members of RRF. 

Classes 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. Course lengths will vary from 3-5 hours and will be scheduled to allow participants to select from a variety of courses throughout the day. Class sizes will be small 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 fee will be charged to help defray room rental, supplies, and transportation. 

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 describe the process of molt in raptors. The first part of the workshop will focus on learning the basics of molt, from terminology and bird topography, to molt nodes and sequence. From this foundation, we will then discuss how to use this knowledge in determining the age of birds, both from photos of free-flying wild birds, as well as birds in the hand. In the second part of the workshop, we will put this knowledge to use with photos, as well as spread wings from museum specimens. Participants will come away with a greater understanding of molt and its use in raptor research. 

Instructors: Caitlin Davis (Boise State University), Andrew Kratter (University of Florida), Nicole Richardson (HawkWatch International), Bryce Robinson (Cornell University), and Jesse Watson (HawkWatch International)

Time: 08:00-12:00

Class size: 25

Cost: Regular Rate $40. Discounted ECRR Rate $20.

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 a 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., tail-mount, 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 (Conservation Science Global, Inc.) and Vincent Slabe (Conservation Science Global, Inc.)

Time: 08:00-13:00

Class size: 20 students

Cost: Regular Rate $40. Discounted ECRR Rate $20. 

Techniques for Handling, Auxiliary Marking, and Measuring Raptors after Capture: A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush 

Course Description: This course will give students hands-on experience in applying the following types of auxiliary markers to raptors: butt-end and lock-on U.S. Geological Survey leg bands, feathers (through feather imping), and patagial markers for small and large raptors. Students will also have the opportunity to learn and practice proper handling and measuring techniques. This will be a classroom-based course.

Instructors: Teresa Ely (Golden Gate Raptor Observatory), John Smallwood (Montclair State University), and Dan Varland (Coastal Raptors)

Time: 13:00-17:00

Class size: 24 students

Cost: Regular Rate $40. Discounted ECRR Rate $20.

Illustrating Raptors

Course Description: Illustration in raptor research can not only provide a pleasing aesthetic to figures and presentations, but can be a powerful communication tool. Raptor researchers can leverage illustration to better communicate research goals, methodology, and findings efficiently, providing an alternative mode of communicating their work to individuals that are predisposed to visual learning. In this way, illustration holds the potential to increase the efficacy of research on the world’s raptors, by making it accessible to more people. 

In this workshop we will learn how to develop skills in raptor illustration. We will describe how illustration can be applied to raptor research, and learn the proper approach to illustration, including which aspects to prioritize in order to create the best representation of your subject. We will then put this approach into practice as we work from photographs to ‘build a bird’. We will separate each step, take it slow, and ultimately each participant will not only come away with a refined representation of a bird, but a better understanding of the character of the bird.

Instructor: Bryce Robinson (Cornell University)

Time: 14:00-17:00

Class size: 20

Cost: Regular Rate $30. Discounted ECRR Rate $15.

Scientific Writing for Publication

Communicating the results of scientific research is one of the most important tasks and responsibilities of anyone in our field, and becoming proficient at effective written communication requires practice. This workshop will focus on writing manuscripts for peer review publication. Topics covered will include principles for clear and direct writing, how to structure a scientific manuscript, how to present data effectively (preparing tables and figures), grammar, and usage. Participants will have opportunities to review and critique written materials and to practice writing and editing using provided examples. We will also discuss the publishing process – deciding authorship and choosing a journal and, if time allows, how to respond to reviews of your manuscript.

Instructors: Joan Morrison (Retired), Chris McClure (The Peregrine Fund)

Participant cap: 20

Time/duration: 0800-1200; 3-4 hours

Cost: $30 regular/$10 ECRR

Raptor Necropsy

Gross necropsy of deceased raptors is an important method of investigating causes of mortality, providing valuable medical and research information. The class will begin with a lecture discussing anatomy, necropsy technique, and providing visual examples of normal and diseased tissue. The practical portion will teach external physical exam, practical approach to conducting necropsy, gross tissue examination, and sample collection for disease and contaminant diagnostics.

Instructors: Charlotte Cournoyer, DVM (South Florida Wildlife Center), Co-instructor TBD

Participant cap: 15

Format: in-person only

Time/duration: 1300-1600; 3 hours

Cost: $30 regular/$15 ECRR