Age of Discovery

Age of Discovery

Kestrels are disappearing worldwide — except in Forest Grove, where they thrive. Through the Pacific University undergraduate research program, one professor and his students are studying the healthy population to find out how they can protect the species elsewhere.

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They’re hoping to continue conducting more research and getting field experience before exploring graduate school to pursue their scientific careers.

Kestrels , Van Buskirk said, give students solid wildlife tracking experience they might not have in relation to a study of bigger animals. Even in the falcon world, hawks and eagles are more dangerous and require more field experience before handling (an eagle’s beak can sever a human finger). High-profile projects, such as local work with extremely endangered condors, take years of experience.

“This is really great for students. They love the ability to work with animals directly,” he said. “Students can get out and learn wildlife tracking techniques. It gives them really good research experience that’s often hard to get in other settings.”

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