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About James R. Belthoff

Dr. James R. Belthoff came to Boise State University in 1993 as faculty with the Department of Biological Sciences and the Raptor Research Center. He has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, an M.S. in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Clemson University. His main research focus is on understanding factors that drive natal dispersal in birds. These factors may be external (e.g., population density, food availability, parental and sibling aggression) or internal (e.g., maturation, hormones, body condition). His current projects are related to the population biology, behavioral ecology, and conservation of burrowing owls, movement biology and physiology of house finches, and effects of habitat changes on shrub-steppe passerines.
Dr. Belthoff serves as the major professor for students pursuing M.S. degrees in the Raptor Biology and General Biology Programs. In addition to teaching and research, he maintains memberships in professional ornithological and biological societies, and serves as a scientific peer reviewer for numerous journals and foundations including American Naturalist, Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, Journal of Field Ornithology, Journal of Raptor Research, and the National Science Foundation. He was Co-PI for a 2008-2013 NSF grant of $2.3 million to study the utilization of local resources and education settings to stimulate K-12 learning, as well as a number of smaller grants, many for the study of owls and other raptors.


1993 - Present Professor, Boise State University Department of Biological Sciences



2023 - 2026 Understanding Climate, Renewable Energy, and Oceanic Condition Effects on Intercontinental Connections of Birds of Prey
National Science Foundation - 2246324
Standard Grant
Role: Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): Gregory Kaltenecker (Co-PI)
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Honors and Awards

  • 2011 - Fellow, American Ornithologists’ Union
  • 2005 - President’s Research and Scholarship Award, Boise State University
  • 2004 - College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Research, Boise State University


  • BIOL 100: Concepts of Biology
  • BIOL 433/533: Behavioral Ecology
  • BIOL 434/534: Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 503: Advanced Biometry
  • BIOL 497/597: Basic and Applied Statistics
  • BIOL 505: Applied Raptor Biology
  • BIOL 562: Advanced Topics in Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 598: Graduate Seminar

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