Learning in The Field

Well over 500 people have participated with field work since the start of the research in 1995, all in a volunteer capacity. The list includes many from the local community, wildlife science students, seasoned field biologists and photographers. They lend a hand and learn.

Ashley Sacco with a first-year Peregrine Falcon in 2016. While a student at the University of Washington in wildlife conservation, Ashley used data on contaminant levels in blood samples taken by Coastal Raptors for her senior thesis research project.

Team effort removing a two-year-old Bald Eagle from a net. This eagle was captured north of Ocean Shores on March 30, 2014. With Dan Varland holding the bird, left to right are Lisa Leitz, Pam McCauley, Katherine Lopez and Chris Handly. This was first time in the field for all. All attended a raptor program hosted by Coastal Raptors at the Aberdeen Museum one week earlier and had expressed an interest in participating in Coastal Raptors field work. Pam for many years has served as a board member for Coastal Raptors.
Left to right are Adrianna Hernandez, Nallely Arce and Victor Ayala with an adult Bald Eagle re-captured during a Coastal Raptors survey on May 11, 2014. The three are Red Knot researchers in Mexico and had traveled to the Washington coast under a special grant to participate in Red Knot research coordinated by Joe Buchanan of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This day was one of their few days off from Red Knot field work (for more, see the video below).
Adrianna Hernandez, Nallely Arce and Victor Ayala join the non-profit Coastal Raptors for a day of field work on May 11, 2014. A banded Bald Eagle that was recaptured is released. Victor talks about their collaborative research on Red Knots.
Washington State University veterinary students and Professor Dr. Rocio Crespo joined Coastal Raptors for a survey at Ocean Shores, Washington on September 23, 2015. This video shows the release of a first-year female Peregrine Falcon captured, banded and sampled for contaminants and disease pathogens during the survey

We often have people stop by to see what we’re up to during our bird banding activities. These chance meetings also provide learning opportunities.

Dan Varland shares a close-up view of a Peregrine Falcon with a curious family at Ocean Shores, October 28, 2007. Charlie Varland photo.
Father and sons, who stopped by to watch Merlin banding, were pleased to get the opportunity to release the bird as the last step in the process. Dan Varland photos.

Learning at Presentations

Dan Varland makes 8-10 presentations annually on Coastal Raptors research: at professional conferences, to local school and civic groups, to university students and others. 

Dan co-teaches hands-on workshops on raptor marking, handling and measuring techniques at the annual conferences of the Raptor Research Foundation (RRF). Much of the content is available in Marking Techniques, a chapter he co-authored. The chapter appears in Raptor Research and Management Techniques, a book published by RRF. For a free copy of Marking Techniques click here or go to Publications on the Coastal Raptors website. Copies of the book or of individual chapters therein are available at the Raptor Research Foundation website (click here).

The workshops teach hands-on techniques through the use of raptor carcasses that are made available under permit. In the photo at right, Dan helps two students from Japan apply wing tags to a Golden Eagle carcass at the 2019 Raptor Research Foundation conference in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Haruki Natsukawa and Katsui Hirai share the results of their wing tagging efforts.

Learning at Retreats 

Coastal Raptors holds overnight retreats at the George Johnson House B&B in Ocean Park, Washington. The retreats are graciously hosted by the B&B’s Charlotte Killien. They offer great food, wonderful accommodations and multiple opportunities to head out on the Long Beach Peninsula for adventures with raptors!

Left to right, Mary Kay Kenny, B&B hostess Charlotte Killien, David Kenney and Sandra Miller. Dan Varland photo.
Group photo during a break in surveying for raptors at Long Beach.
Dan Varland usually gives an evening program on coastal raptors during a stay at the B&B. Dale Larson photo.

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