Tracy Aviary offers Staff Field Conservation Grants to current full- and part-time employees. This opportunity was created to achieve dual objectives of 1) supporting field conservation for birds and the habitats on which they depend, and 2) providing employees enriching opportunities to develop personally and professionally. Here are some of the places our staff have gone to work towards bird conservation!

Belize Raptor research

Aron Smolley recently went to Belize to provide his skills to the Belize Raptor Research Institute (BRRI).  Raptors are an important part of a healthy ecosystem, and many raptors rely on narrow corridors and stop over points for survival during migration. Unfortunately, raptors face persecution and other challenges during their migration due to increasing human development and disturbance. Through this project, Aron participated in scientific research to monitor local raptor populations and protect raptors from persecution.


Sage-grouse habitat assessment

Matthew Utley helped the Wild Utah Project in assessing the habitat of sage-grouse in Utah. The data that Matthew collected gives researchers insight into the effects of rotational cattle grazing on prime sage-grouse habitat. 

This project helped make me feel valuable for the skills I have, made me proud to be part of the solution and education about the situation with Sage Grouse and habitat quality
— M. Utley



Burrowing owl Conservation Research

Rebecca Bishop worked alongside the Department of Defense on a burrowing owl project. Using satellite telemetry data, the project aimed to identify the migratory routes and wintering grounds of burrowing owls, a Species of National Conservation Concern in the United States. This information will provide clues as to why the species has experienced declines in its western range, a first step in understanding the conservation needs of burrowing owls.

I love being in the field. Simply put, I think the greatest feeling I had all season long was this: we are making a difference!
— R. Bishop



Conservation of great green macaws in Costa Rica

Helen Dishaw got the opportunity to participate in the conservation of great green macaws in Costa Rica. The project she worked on took a holistic approach of captive breeding and reintroduction along with the promotion of habitat preservation, scientific research, and education of the local community.

I gained a sense of participation in something incredibly valuable… The work I do here in the US with our own Great Green Macaws through education feels such a small part of the big picture, but I feel a sense of inclusion and deep commitment to the continued success of this project.
— H. Dishaw



Cross-Border Conservation of the snowy plover

Jennifer Evans contributed to the conservation of Snowy Plovers through the Ceuta Bay Project in Mexico. The project linked Snowy Plover habitats in Utah and around the Great Salt Lake with areas in Mexico, providing a better understanding of the current decline in Snowy Plover populations.

I have always been a bit intimidated by the prospect of field work. I have absolute confidence in my skills as an aviculturist, but not so much my skills as a field biologist… This trip represented my first foray into field work. My birding skills, which are minimal at best, have greatly improved, furthering my ability to identify many native species.
— J. Evans