Bozeman, MT
Jul 13-Jul 17, 2015
Credit: 2 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $727.00
Instructor(s): David Willey

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Course Description

This course is designed to explore the ecology and habitats of raptor species that live in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Birds of prey include all species of raptors. Raptors are birds with unique specializations for killing prey, e.g., raptorial claw-like feet and massive bills designed to rip, tear, and crush their prey. The course will explore strategies raptors use to find things to eat and safe places to nest. We will pay special attention to the influence of human activities on raptors and their habitats.

This course will have the following components for studying birds of prey in the GYE:
  • Who are the Birds of Prey in the GYE? Field identification of raptors, species ecology and life histories, and species-specific habitat needs.
  • Examination of key principles of raptor population ecology (studying survival and reproduction).
  • Reinforce methods of discovery: raptor responses to human encroachment into wilderness.
  • Review inquiry-based learning: the scientific method and things raptors eat (the concept of “resource availability”).
The course builds foundations in morning lectures, discussion, quizzes and lab exercises. Afternoon field trips include techniques of raptor identification and studying raptor ecology. Field trips will integrate methods to study trends in raptor population status and habitat quality.

Physical fitness requirement: Field trips require walking up to 2 miles on moderate slopes on established trails and an overnight stay in Jack Creek.

Meeting Place and Times

Class: M 8:00 am to 12 Noon; lunch break; afternoon 1:00 to 5:00 pm
T 8:00 am to 12 Noon, afternoon field trip 1:30-5:00 pm (Ringling)
W 8:00 am to 12 Noon, leave for overnight trip 1:30 pm (Jack Creek)
Location: Lewis Hall, Room 407
Field Trips: T 1:30-5:00 pm; leave W 1:30 pm, return Friday 3:00 pm


David Willey, PhD.


Graduate standing.

Target Audience

Restricted Entry for Science Educators

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $187.00
 Computer Fee$7.00
 Distributed Learning Fee$0.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

Required Books/Materials

  • Title: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition
    ISBN: 9781-4-26-20828-7
    Author: Dunn and Alderfer
    Publisher: National Geographic; 6 Rev Upd edition (November 1, 2011)

You can order the text through the Montana State University Bookstore at 1-888-247-2546. Ask to speak with the Textbook Department. It will expedite your order if you tell the sales representative:

  • course number (BIOE 522)
  • title of the text
  • ISBN number
  • the course is offered through Extended University

For More Information

contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

How to Register

Register Online