Enabled by an $85,000 grant from the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the study will tally the number of raptors — eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, owls, etc. — in Yellowstone National Park. There’s been no study of the actual numbers; as opposed to higher-profile animals like bison and wolves, scientists have never raised any red flags about dwindling populations, so the need was never there.
But given the changes in climate and the shifting population of virtually every Yellowstone animal, an inventory of the current raptor population will be an essential tool in tracking change over time.
“We’ll begin by getting a baseline inventory of nest locations and status in Yellowstone park,” said Charles Preston, natural history curator at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, in a Billings Gazette interview. “That’s the important thing, to get that baseline information, so 10 to 15 years down the road they can see what’s changed.”
Image courtesy of National Park Service.
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