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Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Science in Raptor Biology



Major Advisor

Marc J. Bechard, Ph.D.


Migration imposes several physiological challenges due to the high metabolic costs of flapping flight. One such cost is oxidative stress, a measure of the balance between oxidative damage to biomolecules (e.g., lipids, proteins and DNA) and the anti-oxidants that mitigate such damage. Raptors have developed different migratory flight strategies to deal with these costs, with larger birds soaring for much of the migration while smaller birds flap more frequently. I quantified oxidative stress in five species of North American raptors ranging in size from around 100 grams to 1000 grams to determine the role species size plays in oxidative stress during migration. I also compared oxidative stress between migrating and wintering American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) to determine the level of oxidative stress migration imposes.