What is this raptor on a building in California?

What is this raptor on a building in California?

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So I took this picture of a bird that was sitting just outside my workplace a few weeks ago:

At first I searched the internet for raptors in California and found the Cooper's hawk. It looked so much like this bird so I thought that must be it and left it at that. However I just recently came across this bird and also this recent hawk identification question and they both look very similar to my bird as well. So I realized I don't know what to look for when trying to identify this bird.

Does anyone know what this raptor could be?

If it helps, the specific location was the city of Tustin in Orange County, California (Southern California). It is about 10 miles from the coast.

It is a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus).

Its breeding range spans eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern to northeastern-central Mexico.

Identifying features:

  1. Presence of dark wings with white spots.
  2. Presence of dark-brownish head, orangish-brown chest.

California Raptor Center

The California Raptor Center (CRC) is dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. The Center receives over 250 injured or ill raptors each year and is able to release over 60% of these birds. The Center provides hands-on training in the care and management of birds of prey and provides educational programs to the general public and the university community." Give to the Raptor Center here.

The raptor center is located on south campus. It makes for a good bike ride from campus to take a break from it all and see some beautiful birds while they are recovering. They also take volunteers if you are interested in feeding and handling raptors. (Call the number above).

If you want to learn about raptors and get 2 units for it, I highly recommend the class Avian Sciences 15L. In addition to raptor biology and identification, you'll get hands on experience catching and handling the birds.

As an interesting side note, I developed the California Raptor Center page (directly from CRC literature) when I was a student, on my free time because they didn't have a webpage yet and I thought the place was cool (and I still do). When the vetmed division found out about my page, they asked if they could use it as their official page. Most of those pages are still intact.

The CRC has an open house (I think it's normally in early May) where the volunteers will hold the birds and talk about them. It is a great time to visit the CRC if you've never been, or want to learn more about the birds than the informational signs around the cages can impart.


The Peregrine Fund's original breeding facilities were established at Cornell University in central New York state in 1970 and at a Colorado Division of Wildlife facility in Fort Collins in 1974. [3] They were moved to Boise after the organization established the World Center for Birds of Prey in 1984. [4] Morley Nelson of Boise, [1] a well-known raptor expert and member of The Peregrine Fund board of directors, was instrumental in bringing the organization to his hometown.

The first buildings at the new site were an office for The Peregrine Fund administration and barns for the captive breeding program. The organization's first climate-controlled breeding barn (the Gerald D. and Kathryn Swim Herrick Tropical Raptor Building) was constructed in 1986. In 1992, the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center opened to the public with exhibits of rare and endangered raptors, interactive displays, and outreach programs for schools and other groups.

In 1993, the first of three California condor breeding barns was constructed. The Gerald D. and Kathryn S. Herrick Collections Building opened in 2002 with space for The Peregrine Fund's research library, scientific specimen collections, and the Archives of Falconry.

The center's research facilities are designed to enhance the health, reproduction, and reintroduction efforts of endangered species and to collect information about the general biology of raptors. The science is focused on understanding how diet, aging and environment affect the health, growth, reproduction and lifespan of the birds. The propagation program played a critical role in the successful recovery of the peregrine falcon.

The organization currently breeds the endangered California condor and aplomado falcon at the World Center for Birds of Prey. The condors are released to the wild in northern Arizona and southern Utah aplomado falcon chicks are released to the wild in Texas and New Mexico. Captive birds in the breeding facility are monitored by video, which allows the collection of detailed behavioral information. Studies on disease, contaminants, nutrition and genetics help biologists evaluate problems facing birds in the wild.

The Peregrine Fund made the world of raptors more accessible to the public at the Velma Morrison-Knudsen Interpretive Center, established in 1992. The facility features interactive displays, multi-media shows and live demonstrations with hawks, falcons, eagles and owls. Visitors may observe a live California condor and other birds of prey. The environmental education program has three components: general public, school-endorsed programs, and outreach. All three use live raptors as an avenue for promoting conservation of birds of prey and their habitat. The interpretive center draws approximately 30,000 visitors annually. Velma Morrison (1920–2013) was the second wife and widow of Harry Morrison (1885–1971), co-founder of Morrison-Knudsen Corporation. [10]

Completed in 2002, the Gerald D. and Kathryn S. Herrick Collections Building provides space for The Peregrine Fund's research library, scientific specimen collections, and the Archives of Falconry. The research library collections include more than 20,000 books and monographs and full or partial runs of more than 1,400 technical journals and conservation magazines, newsletters, videos, CDs and maps. The library's Global Raptor Information Network (GRIN) is an online service that provides encyclopedia-style species accounts of diurnal hawks, eagles and falcons, connects raptor researchers and conservation organizations through a global communications network, and posts information on research findings and raptor conservation issues. The library's specimen collections include more than 13,000 eggshells and nearly 300 avian study skins for use by researchers.

The Archives of Falconry includes falconry equipment and memorabilia, artwork, field notes, and a substantial media collection on the ancient sport of falconry. The Archives of Falconry's library consists of 2,000 books on falconry, including some originals dating to 1495. The archives doubled in size in 2006 with a 3,000-square-foot (280 m 2 ) addition donated by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to honor his father, the founding president of the United Arab Emirates. The new wing displays an authentic Arab tent, memorabilia, and displays related to the ancient tradition of Middle Eastern falconry.

What the Heck Is This Funky Ford F-150 Raptor Test Mule?

While we and the entire truck-loving world wait with bated breath for a glimpse of the next-generation Ford Bronco, it only takes a camouflaged prototype or this unfamiliar-looking Ford F-150 Raptor test mule to stir up a speculation frenzy.

As soon as we spotted this regular-cab, short-bed pickup truck sporting the Raptor's unmistakable wide body and oversized wheels and tires, we knew something was amiss: Not only since the current Raptor is only available with an extended SuperCab or the four-door SuperCrew but because Ford doesn't make any F-150 in this configuration. This makes the odds of Ford building this version of the Raptor about as good as those of Carroll Shelby himself rising from the dead and building another souped-up Mustang, that means this has to be a full-size Bronco test mule, right? Hold your horses.

We know that the upcoming Bronco will share a platform with the next-generation Ford Ranger, which will ride on a smaller chassis than the full-size frame that underpins this test mule. And we know that the upcoming "Baby Bronco" shares a platform with the Escape. But until this spy shot, there hasn't been a peep about a big Bronco.

While this isn't out of the question -- in fact it's a theory our sister publication Road & Track subscribes to-- we, sadly, believe this undisguised Frankenstein Ford is more than likely just a test bed for future company components or a push-truck for the proving grounds cobbled together by engineers over time. Not only is this shockingly un-disguised, but if you look close, it also lacks a roll bar/connecting element between the cab and the bed to simulate structural pathways through a not-two-door-pickup-cab-body that SUV mules usually sport. Sad trombone.

Even if this isn't the big-bad Bronco we're all excited about (prove us wrong, Ford) at the very least, these images provide Raptor fans with an un-Photoshopped look at what a regular-cab version could be. Or maybe there's more to this cobbled-together pickup truck than meets the eye. Fascinatingly, this mule creates more questions than answers.

California Campus

The La Jolla, California campus of Scripps Research encompasses more than 1 million square feet across 35 acres on the Torrey Pines Mesa, the center of a thriving biotech community that is one of the most productive and innovative in the nation. Here, more than 160 principal investigators work with their laboratory groups to understand disease and develop effective treatments. This elite corps includes Nobel laureates, Wolf Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows and members of prestigious scientific academies. They are complemented by an 1,800-member team of staff scientists, graduate students, postdoctoral associates and professionals working in a range of administrative departments.

While our faculty focus on the fields of chemistry, neuroscience, immunology and infectious disease, structural biology and molecular medicine, their investigations are not limited by departmental borders and, in fact, cross-disciplinary collaborations regularly lead to vital discoveries. Potential new medicines are advanced into pre-clinical trials via the drug development infrastructure available at Calibr, a unit within the institute. And the genomic data analysis and digital health monitoring provided by the Translational Institute, another unit, inform and help further refine therapeutics.

Scientists on both campuses are prolific and entrepreneurial: nearly 1,100 U.S. patents and over 50 spinoff companies have resulted from their discoveries. Significantly, 10 FDA-approved drugs are based on their groundbreaking research, with more on the way. Seminal work such as this led the scientific journal Nature to name Scripps Research the world’s most influential research institute.

Photo Gallery


The osprey was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae, and named as Falco haliaeetus. [2] The genus, Pandion, is the sole member of the family Pandionidae, and used to contain only one species, the osprey (P. haliaetus). The genus Pandion was described by the French zoologist Marie Jules César Savigny in 1809. [3] [4]

Most taxonomic authorities consider the species cosmopolitan and conspecific. A few authorities split the osprey into two species, the western osprey and the eastern osprey.

The osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey. Its toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulate, and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish. [5] It has always presented something of a riddle to taxonomists, but here it is treated as the sole living member of the family Pandionidae, and the family listed in its traditional place as part of the order Falconiformes.

Other schemes place it alongside the hawks and eagles in the family Accipitridae—which itself can be regarded as making up the bulk of the order Accipitriformes or else be lumped with the Falconidae into Falconiformes. The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy has placed it together with the other diurnal raptors in a greatly enlarged Ciconiiformes, but this results in an unnatural paraphyletic classification. [6]

Classification Edit

The osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. Even the few subspecies are not unequivocally separable. There are four generally recognised subspecies, although differences are small, and ITIS lists only the first two. [3]

  • Pandion haliaetus haliaetus(Linnaeus, 1758): the nominate subspecies, occurring in the Palearctic realm. [7]
  • P. haliaetus carolinensis(Gmelin, 1788): North America. This form is larger, darker bodied and has a paler breast than the type of the first description. [7]
  • P. haliaetus ridgwayiMaynard, 1887: Caribbean islands. This form has a very pale head and breast compared with nominate haliaetus, with only a weak eye mask. [7] It is non-migratory. Its scientific name commemorates American ornithologistRobert Ridgway. [8]
  • P. haliaetus cristatus(Vieillot, 1816): coastline and some large rivers of Australia and Tasmania. The smallest and most distinctive subspecies, also non-migratory. [7] Some authorities have assigned it full species status [9] as Pandion cristatus, known as the eastern osprey. [10]

Fossil record Edit

To date there have been two extinct species named from the fossil record. [11] Pandion homalopteron was named by Stuart L. Warter in 1976 from fossils of Middle Miocene, Barstovian age, found in marine deposits in the southern part of California. The second named species Pandion lovensis, was described in 1985 by Jonathan J. Becker from fossils found in Florida and dating to the latest Clarendonian and possibly representing a separate lineage from that of P. homalopteron and P. haliaetus. A number of claw fossils have been recovered from Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments in Florida and South Carolina.

The oldest recognized family Pandionidae fossils have been recovered from the Oligocene age Jebel Qatrani Formation, of Faiyum, Egypt. However they are not complete enough to assign to a specific genus. [12] Another Pandionidae claw fossil was recovered from Early Oligocene deposits in the Mainz basin, Germany, and was described in 2006 by Gerald Mayr. [13]

Etymology Edit

The genus name Pandion derives from Pandíōn Πανδίων , the mythical Greek king of Athens and grandfather of Theseus, Pandion II. Although Pandion II was not used to name a bird of prey, Nisus, a king of Megara, was used for the genus. [14] The species name haliaetus comes from Ancient Greek haliáetos ἁλιάετος [15] from hali- ἁλι- , "sea-" and aetós ἀετός , "eagle". [14]

The origins of osprey are obscure [16] the word itself was first recorded around 1460, derived via the Anglo-French ospriet and the Medieval Latin avis prede "bird of prey," from the Latin avis praedae though the Oxford English Dictionary notes a connection with the Latin ossifraga or "bone breaker" of Pliny the Elder. [17] [18] However, this term referred to the bearded vulture. [19]

The upperparts are a deep, glossy brown, while the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown, and the underparts are pure white. The head is white with a dark mask across the eyes, reaching to the sides of the neck. [22] The irises of the eyes are golden to brown, and the transparent nictitating membrane is pale blue. The bill is black, with a blue cere, and the feet are white with black talons. [5] A short tail and long, narrow wings with four long, finger-like feathers, and a shorter fifth, give it a very distinctive appearance. [23]

The sexes appear fairly similar, but the adult male can be distinguished from the female by its slimmer body and narrower wings. The breast band of the male is also weaker than that of the female, or is non-existent, and the underwing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale. It is straightforward to determine the sex in a breeding pair, but harder with individual birds. [23]

The juvenile osprey may be identified by buff fringes to the plumage of the upperparts, a buff tone to the underparts, and streaked feathers on the head. During spring, barring on the underwings and flight feathers is a better indicator of a young bird, due to wear on the upperparts. [22]

In flight, the osprey has arched wings and drooping "hands", giving it a gull-like appearance. The call is a series of sharp whistles, described as cheep, cheep or yewk, yewk. If disturbed by activity near the nest, the call is a frenzied cheereek! [24]

The osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species, after the peregrine falcon, and is one of only six land-birds with a cosmopolitan distribution. It is found in temperate and tropical regions of all continents, except Antarctica. In North America it breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland south to the Gulf Coast and Florida, wintering further south from the southern United States through to Argentina. [25] It is found in summer throughout Europe north into Ireland, Scandinavia, Finland and Great Britain though not Iceland, and winters in North Africa. [26] In Australia it is mainly sedentary and found patchily around the coastline, though it is a non-breeding visitor to eastern Victoria and Tasmania. [27]

There is a 1,000 km (600 mi) gap, corresponding with the coast of the Nullarbor Plain, between its westernmost breeding site in South Australia and the nearest breeding sites to the west in Western Australia. [28] In the islands of the Pacific it is found in the Bismarck Islands, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, and fossil remains of adults and juveniles have been found in Tonga, where it probably was wiped out by arriving humans. [29] It is possible it may once have ranged across Vanuatu and Fiji as well. It is an uncommon to fairly common winter visitor to all parts of South Asia, [30] and Southeast Asia from Myanmar through to Indochina and southern China, Indonesia], Malaysia and the Philippines. [31]

The worldwide distribution of the species is unusual for land-based birds, and only recognised in five other species. [32] [a]

Diet Edit

Ospreys have vision that is well adapted to detecting underwater objects from the air. Prey is first sighted when the osprey is 10–40 m (33–131 ft) above the water, after which the bird hovers momentarily then plunges feet first into the water. [34] They catch fish by diving into a body of water, oftentimes completely submerging their entire bodies. As an osprey dives it adjusts the angle of its flight to account for the distortion of the fish's image caused by refraction. Ospreys will typically eat on a nearby perch, but have also been known to carry fish for longer distances. [35]

Occasionally, the osprey may prey on rodents, rabbits, hares, other birds, [36] and small reptiles. [37]

Adaptations Edit

The osprey has several adaptations that suit its piscivorous lifestyle:

  • reversible outer toes [38]
  • sharp spicules on the underside of the toes [38]
  • closable nostrils to keep out water during dives
  • backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch
  • dense plumage which is oily and prevents its feathers from getting waterlogged. [39]

Reproduction Edit

The osprey breeds near freshwater lakes and rivers, and sometimes on coastal brackish waters. Rocky outcrops just offshore are used in Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia, where there are 14 or so similar nesting sites of which five to seven are used in any one year. Many are renovated each season, and some have been used for 70 years. The nest is a large heap of sticks, driftwood, turf or seaweed built in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles, artificial platforms or offshore islets. [33] [40] As wide as 2 meters and weighing about 135 kg, large nests on utility poles may be fire hazards and have caused power outages. [41]

Generally, ospreys reach sexual maturity and begin breeding around the age of three to four, though in some regions with high osprey densities, such as Chesapeake Bay in the United States, they may not start breeding until five to seven years old, and there may be a shortage of suitable tall structures. If there are no nesting sites available, young ospreys may be forced to delay breeding. To ease this problem, posts are sometimes erected to provide more sites suitable for nest building. [42] In some regions ospreys prefer transmission towers as nesting sites, e.g. in East Germany. [43]

The nesting platform design developed by one organization, Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. has become the official design of the State of New Jersey, U.S. The nesting platform plans and materials list, available online, have been utilized by people from a number of different geographical regions. [44] is the global site for mapping osprey nest locations and logging observations on reproductive success. [45]

The oldest European wild osprey on record lived to be over thirty years of age. In North America, great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are the only major predators of ospreys, capable of taking both nestlings and adults. [37] [48] [49] [50] [51] However, kleptoparasitism by bald eagles, where the larger raptor steals the osprey's catch, is more common than predation. The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), which is very similar to the bald eagle, may harass or prey on the osprey in Eurasia. [52] Raccoons (Procyon lotor) can be a serious threat to nestlings or eggs if they can access the nest. [53] Endoparasitic trematodes (Scaphanocephalus expansus and Neodiplostomum spp.) have been recorded in wild ospreys. [54]

Migration Edit

European breeders winter in Africa. [55] American and Canadian breeders winter in South America, although some stay in the southernmost U.S. states such as Florida and California. [56] Some ospreys from Florida migrate to South America. [57] Australasian ospreys tend not to migrate.

Studies of Swedish ospreys showed that females tend to migrate to Africa earlier than the males. More stopovers are made during their autumn migration. The variation of timing and duration in autumn was more variable than in spring. Although migrating predominantly in the day, they sometimes fly in the dark hours particularly in crossings over water and cover on average 260–280 km (160–170 mi) per day with a maximum of 431 km (268 mi) per day. [58] European birds may also winter in South Asia, indicated by an osprey tagged in Norway being monitored in western India. [59] In the Mediterranean, ospreys show partial migratory behaviour with some individuals remaining resident, whilst others undertake relatively short migration trips. [60]

Mortality Edit

Swedish ospreys have a significantly higher mortality rate during migration seasons than during stationary periods, with more than half of the total annual mortality occurring during migration. [61] These deaths can also be categorized into spatial patterns: Spring mortality occurs mainly in Africa, which can be traced to crossing the Sahara desert. Mortality can also occur through mishaps with human utilities, such as nesting near overhead electric cables or collisions with aircraft. [62]

The osprey has a large range, covering 9,670,000 km 2 (3,730,000 sq mi) in just Africa and the Americas, and has a large global population estimated at 460,000 individuals. Although global population trends have not been quantified, the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations), and for these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [1] There is evidence for regional decline in South Australia where former territories at locations in the Spencer Gulf and along the lower Murray River have been vacant for decades. [28]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the main threats to osprey populations were egg collectors and hunting of the adults along with other birds of prey, [37] [63] but osprey populations declined drastically in many areas in the 1950s and 1960s this appeared to be in part due to the toxic effects of insecticides such as DDT on reproduction. [64] The pesticide interfered with the bird's calcium metabolism which resulted in thin-shelled, easily broken or infertile eggs. [25] Possibly because of the banning of DDT in many countries in the early 1970s, together with reduced persecution, the osprey, as well as other affected bird of prey species, have made significant recoveries. [33] In South Australia, nesting sites on the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island are vulnerable to unmanaged coastal recreation and encroaching urban development. [28]

Literature Edit

  • The Roman writer Pliny the Elder reported that parent ospreys made their young fly up to the sun as a test, and dispatched any that failed. [65]
  • Another odd legend regarding this fish-eating bird of prey, derived from the writings of Albertus Magnus and recorded in Holinshed'sChronicles, was that it had one webbed foot and one taloned foot. [63][66]
  • The osprey is mentioned in the famous Chinese folk poem "guan guan ju jiu" (關關雎鳩) "ju jiu" 雎鳩 refers to the osprey, and "guan guan" (關關) to its voice. In the poem, the osprey is considered to be an icon of fidelity and harmony between wife and husband, due to its highly monogamous habits. Some commentators have claimed that "ju jiu" in the poem is not the osprey but the mallard duck, since the osprey cannot make the sound "guan guan". [67][68]
  • The Irish poet William Butler Yeats used a grey wandering osprey as a representation of sorrow in The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889). [65]
  • There was a medieval belief that fish were so mesmerised by the osprey that they turned belly-up in surrender, [63] and this is referenced by Shakespeare in Act 4 Scene 5 of Coriolanus:

I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.

Religion Edit

In Buddhism, the osprey is sometimes represented as the "King of Birds", especially in 'The Jātaka: Or, Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births' , no. 486.

Iconography Edit

  • In heraldry, the osprey is typically depicted as a white eagle, [66] often maintaining a fish in its talons or beak, and termed a "sea-eagle." It is historically regarded as a symbol of vision and abundance more recently it has become a symbol of positive responses to nature, [63] and has been featured on more than 50 international postage stamps. [69]
  • In 1994, the osprey was declared the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, Canada. [70]
  • It is also the official bird of Södermanland, Sweden.
  • The cap badge of Rhodesia's Selous Scouts (1973-1980) was a stylized osprey.
  • Ospreys are a common feature of First Nations artwork in the Pacific Northwest, such as Kwakwakaʼwakw art. They are often used to depict the mythical two-headed Thunderbird.

Sports Edit

The osprey is used as a brand name for various products and sports teams, such as the Ospreys (a Welsh Rugby team) and Seattle Seahawks (an American football team of the National Football League). The official mascot of athletic teams at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is named Sammy C. Hawk.

Other Edit

So-called "osprey" plumes were an important item in the plume trade of the late 19th century and used in hats including those used as part of the army uniform. Despite their name, these plumes were actually obtained from egrets. [71]

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, an American tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities.

During the 2017 regular session of the Oregon Legislature, there was a short-lived controversy over the western meadowlark's status as state bird versus the osprey. The sometimes-spirited debate included state representative Rich Vial playing the meadowlark's song on his smartphone over the House microphone. [72] A compromise was reached in SCR 18, [73] which was passed on the last day of the session, designating the western meadowlark as the state songbird and the osprey as the state raptor.

What is this raptor on a building in California? - Biology

In the early 1970s, Dr. Gary Duke was conducting research on turkeys as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Meanwhile, Dr. Patrick Redig was a sophomore veterinary student working with Duke, who then went on to get a PhD in avian physiology. Four baby great horned owls changed the fate of both.

A vet student brought Dr. Duke four baby great horned owls which Dr. Duke used to study avian meat eaters and Dr. Redig, an avid falconer, cared for and learned to repair the injuries of the owls for release back into the wild. From this beginning, the two founded The Raptor Center (TRC).

Dr. Redig pioneered the avian orthopedic and anesthetic techniques used today, and also began using non-releasable birds to educate the public about raptor behavior, their environment, and the threats they face.

A wonderful story about TRC's founding fathers, Dr. Duke and Dr. Redig, was featured in our 40th anniversary issue of our Raptor Release newsletter.

Today, the magic of raptors makes it possible for The Raptor Center’s educational programs to reach more than 150,000 people annually.

From its humble 1974 beginning in Haecker Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, a lot has changed and much has been accomplished:



Our surveys range from standard, agency-mandated protocol surveys for endangered, threatened, and sensitive species to carefully developed and project-specific surveys, including protocol designs subject to rigid statistical analysis as is becoming commonplace for solar and wind energy siting cases.


Our biologists have extensive experience preparing documents for alternative energy, residential development and other industries that fulfill the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal and state Endangered Species Acts (federal ESA Section 10(a) permits and Section 7 consultation, state ESA Section 2081 permits), single and multiple-species habitat conservation plans, and other regulatory requirements.


BBI is the preeminent consulting firm in the western United States for studies of raptors, advising on the interface between development and imperiled species such as Golden Eagles and California Condors.

Founder and principal zoologist for BBI, Peter Bloom was directly involved in the successful efforts to capture all remaining wild free flying California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) in the 1980’s. Since then BBI has been called upon by numerous clients to provide expertise on this highly endangered species. In addition to the condor, BBI is also considered a primary expert on the status of Swainson's Hawk. We frequently advise on the effects or potential effects of wind power on raptors and other birds.


BBI biologists are permitted or qualified to conduct surveys and evaluate potential project effects for most threatened and endangered wildlife species occurring in the State of California. BBI staff have published basic research in the biological sciences in a number of major peer-reviewed scientific journals.

BBI holds the following agency permits:

Federal Endangered Species permits, including special permits to monitor nests, and band, or place transmitters and transponders on certain species.

Predator management permit.

Migratory bird (Burrowing Owls etc.) relocation and salvage permits.

Cowbird trapping authorization.

Federal bird banding permit.

California scientific collecting permit.

California Endangered Species MOUs.


BBI conducts general habitat assessments and due diligence studies which are the first steps in determining the types of surveys and other studies likely to be required during environmental review for elucidating project impacts and shaping feasible mitigation measures.

BBI biologists are practiced in evaluating a site’s potential to support endangered or otherwise sensitive species or their habitat, evaluating the nature and significance of project impacts on these resources, and working with project proponents in developing appropriate mitigation measures to avoid, eliminate, or reduce these impacts.


BBI has taken a unique approach to geographic information systems by using a variety of open source enterprise-level tools combined in a distinctive way. We utilize the most advanced techniques in GIS to retain and analyze all project data, from simple survey results to the most detailed impact analysis and mitigation planning. The outcome is a central database that drives consistency and efficiency in field data collection. Work products derived from our GIS system are not commonly found throughout the consulting community and improve the quality and appearance of BBI's reports.

Where the Wild Things Are

How do you feel about wild things? Slippery creatures? Furry ones? Feathered friends? If you do feel passionate about animals, maybe you want to become a wildlife biologist — or possibly a veterinarian, fisheries manager, habitat restoration ecologist or zookeeper.

If these careers interest you, consider the wildlife, fish and conservation biology major at UC Davis. We prepare students who are dedicated to the conservation of all wildlife and fish species and interested in the resolution of conflicts between people and wildlife.

Students in this major are part of a close-knit community, says Thalia Badger, a senior who works as a peer advisor:

This is a special major because it’s relatively small, and the professors are very involved. Also there are lots of field-trip opportunities that get you outdoors and give you a chance to get to know your classmates well.

'Will I get to handle wildlife?'

If you choose this major, you can take advantage of various opportunities to get hands-on experience with wildlife. You can volunteer at the California Raptor Center, located just off campus and supported by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The center rehabilitates sick, injured and orphaned birds of prey, with the goal of eventual re-release into the wild.

Or maybe you’ll be one of many students who have a wood duck internship with Professor John Eadie — checking nest boxes, counting eggs, and weighing and measuring hatchlings.

Eadie, an expert in waterfowl, estimates that more than 500 students have gained hands-on wildlife training since he initiated the wood duck intern program in the mid-1990s. “The birds are resilient, so students won’t hurt them,” says Eadie, “and the birds aren’t dangerous, so students aren’t going to get bitten.”

Fieldwork on the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog

Third-year student Jake Trusheim spent the summer doing field surveys of an endangered species, the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, which lives in high-elevation freshwater habitats.

“Doing fieldwork, I really enjoy being able to get away from all the communications technology that sometimes seems to control our lives,” he says. “Fieldwork can be challenging, but the time spent out in nature is incredibly rejuvenating.”

Many wildlife students find internships off campus to extend their field training. Senior Melissa Marshall spent last summer on the Channel Islands, working with native foxes and skunks. As a volunteer for the National Park Service, she trapped animals and took blood samples and measurements.

From Marshall’s perspective, the conservation biology major “is a great path for people who want to work with animals but don’t necessarily want to become a vet.”

What kind of coursework is required?

As a wildlife, fish and conservation biology major, you’ll take a couple of years of foundational coursework in biology, chemistry, calculus, physics and statistics. Within the major, you’ll select from among four areas of specialization:

  • Wildlife and conservation biology
  • Fish biology
  • Wildlife health
  • An individualized plan

Where do conservation biology graduates work?

Employers who hire our graduates include government agencies such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Environmental Protection Agency, non-governmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited, as well as various environmental consulting firms.

Environmental manager for the Corp of Engineers

After graduation, Sarah Ross Arrouzet ’02 worked for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency as a wildlife biologist for nearly five years. She returned to school for a master’s degree in conservation biology, studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand.

Afterward, Arrouzet returned to the Sacramento area working as an environmental manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one of the key agencies involved in flood risk management in the Central Valley and Sacramento River watershed.

When the Army Corps of Engineers plans a levee repair or a new floodwall, Arrouzet’s job is to analyze the proposed project’s impact on air quality, water quality, traffic and noise, and loss of habitat for species. Before and during construction, she’ll spend time in the field conducting wildlife and endangered species surveys, fish sampling or monitoring water quality. But most of her time is spent in the office, analyzing the impact of proposed projects on the environment and writing reports.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without the classes I took at UC Davis, especially the field classes — identifying birds and mammals and vegetation — learning my species,” she says.

The first time I had to do a bird count by myself, I knew what the species were. They didn’t just look like a bunch of what we call LBB’s [Little Brown Birds]. — Sarah Ross Arrouzet

“I also really drew on the knowledge from my upper-division classes, even statistics, which I initially didn’t want to take,” she adds. “But it has been useful.”

Environmental educator at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience

After graduation, Carmen DeLeon ’08 interned at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in the Marin Headlands. She eventually returned to graduate school for a master’s degree in natural resources and a certificate in environmental education. Now she works as an environmental educator and volunteer coordinator at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek, where it houses both animal exhibits and a wildlife rehabilitation hospital.

“I like working somewhere I can use my creativity and passion for wildlife conservation to share information about the animals I care about,” says DeLeon. “Wildlife biology is a career that you’re in for the impact.”

Learn more about the experiences of wildlife, fish and conservation biology majors by following the UC Davis student chapter of The Wildlife Society on Facebook.

Students Research Raptors on Chestnut Ridge

Brothers Calvin and Peter Livengood conducted an investigation into migration patterns through the Center for Undergraduate Research at Cal U. They presented their findings at the Strike a Spark student research conference.

The Livengood brothers had a hunch: Chestnut Ridge, the western-most ridge in the Allegheny Mountains, was an active spot for migrating raptors.

Now they have the scientific research to support it.

Calvin Livengood, a Cal U sophomore majoring in environmental studies and business administration, and Peter Livengood, a home-schooled high school senior who is taking credits through Cal U’s High School Early Admit program, presented their findings at the Strike a Spark Conference April 24 in the Convocation Center.

Peter Livengood will enroll at Cal U in the fall with majors in fisheries and wildlife biology and parks and recreation management.

Under the guidance of research adviser Dr. Carol Bocetti, the brothers completed an independent research investigation: “Discovering and Modeling Raptor Migration on the Westernmost Ridge in the Allegheny Mountains.”

Their findings: Temperature and wind direction are two prediction variables in species composition and diversity.

They also counted the number and species of migrating birds at two sites, Summit Golf Course and Laurel Caverns.

“We couldn’t find any records with the Hawk Migration Association of North America that raptors had been documented on the ridge,” which is 90 miles long, Peter said.

Thanks to their interest, The Summit Mountain Hawkwatch is now a location at

“One main thing we can say is that Chestnut Ridge exists as a migration route for raptors,” Peter said. “We counted 1,000 birds in the fall. It’s also notable to say that the eastern golden eagle is not migrating through this area.”

“It was a unique feeling to see the first group of hawks come through,” Calvin said. “We’re just students, but we discovered a new watch site.”

For Bocetti, it was important that the Livengoods do more than a bird count to meet the research standards of the course.

“It’s meant to be scientifically rigorous,” she said. “My role as their adviser was to help them target the project, to focus on the questions that are answerable. They used a model-building approach and worked with (statistics professor) Dr. Melissa Sovak to build a mathematical model. They wrote a proposal, and we discussed hypotheses and predictors.

“They were very self-motivated and easy to coach and teach.”

“Being able to gain research experience helps me decide on a career, and it’s also work I may be doing in the environmental field,” Calvin said.

The brothers received a grant for their study from Cal U’s Center for Undergraduate Research. They also received funding from the Dr. Barry Hunter Memorial Fund and the Jesse B. Guttman Student Research Grant.

“It’s invaluable experience for them to present at Strike a Spark,” Bocetti said. “They have the opportunity to communicate the science they have learned to the public at large.

“We are a hands-on program. We get students out in the woods for lines on a resume that will get them jobs. The center allows them to get outside, get dirty and learn the science.”

Watch the video: Raptor Expeditions Creatures of the Night (January 2023).