Bird of prey conservation projects at the Hawk Conservancy Trust

Conservation and research work takes place at the Hawk Conservancy Trust visitor centre and works with a number of key aims:

Behavioural enrichment

Project aim: Develop effective methods of behavioural enrichment and welfare improvement in raptors

The development of new techniques to improve captive animal husbandry has increased during the last two decades. A large part of these improvements have focused on methods of behavioural enrichment, which is defined as providing enclosures and settings that promote natural behaviour in animals. Birds of prey have had relatively little attention in this area. This project uses multiple researchers to test various ideas and new methods and record how the birds at the Trust react. Numerous undergraduate and post-graduate studies have been completed at the Trust and many of the findings are now used on a day-to-day basis by the keepers.

Energetics, flight dynamics and accelerometry

Project aim: Assess energy expenditure and flight mechanics using accelerometry data loggers and other methods

The study of flight has fascinated humans for millennia. With new technological innovations, the means by which flight and bird locomotion in general can be studied has increased dramatically. From Harris’s Hawks to Secretary Birds, the Trust collaborates with partners from several universities and colleges to investigate bird movement using small data loggers that are temporarily attached to the birds. Much of this research demonstrates the underlying theoretical basis for field studies (such as migration or hunting behaviour) and can also help improve practical methods.

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