We’re Halfway There: Updates from the 2022 GRRC Grant Awardees

09 December 2022

Can you believe we are already halfway through our 2022 Global Raptor Research and Conservation awardees’ projects? Our awardees have faced challenges from humidity impacting electronic devices to typhoons. But they have also had exciting wins like collecting hundreds of audio files and successfully carrying out a raptor ID course.

If you are seeking funding for raptor research and conservation focusing on high-priority species in high-priority counties, consider applying for our Global Raptor Research and Conservation Grant. The deadline for applications is less than 1 month away, so get your applications in by December 31st. Click here to learn more and apply: https://hawkwatch.org/grrcg

Million Abushi Tiko


Hooded Vultures perched and Hooded vultures’ carcasses from electrocution at Jimma University (Million Tiko)

Million has been surveying Hooded Vultures at roosting and feeding sites, like abattoirs and dumps, in Bonga, Jimma, and Agaro cities in Ethiopia. Million and the research team completed wet season counts in May-July and are now undertaking dry season counts. The team has also administered nearly 100 questionnaires in the local surrounding communities to assess the level of knowledge and perception of Hooded Vultures. During these surveys, 12 cases of Hooded Vulture electrocution have been recorded at just one site. Despite efforts to locate breeding Hooded Vultures, none have yet been found, so survey efforts in this area will continue.

Asman Adi Purwanto 


Evening surveys and a SwiftOne Device used to collect acoustic data

Aman is looking for Javan Scops-Owls at Mount Merbabu National Park, Central Java, Indonesia. Preliminary surveys carried out this year have identified three locations where further transects and acoustic surveys are being carried out to locate the owls. So far 112 audio files have been obtained from 4 passive acoustic devices which were installed for 14 days. These files included two recordings of the Javan Scops-Owl, which are thought to be from two different individuals. The team have experienced extreme weather, with rain occurring almost every day on Mount Merbabu. As of yet, they have not seen the target species, however, they still have one more site to survey and more analyses of the sound recordings to carry out.

Marilyn Dela Torre


Marilyn's crew and her field site

Marilyn has been working with local communities on Luzon Island, Philippines, to set up raptor surveys for the Philippine Hawk Eagle. After hosting a three-day raptor identification training course in August, five locations were chosen for point surveys in the study area. They carried out the first surveys at two locations, and at one site, the Philippine Hawk Eagle was observed. Typhoons have delayed some activities, but the team hopes to complete the surveys in December.

David Rodríguez-Villamil


Field site and David with an audio recording device

David is searching for the elusive Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl in Colombia. So far, David and his team have only located the owl in a highly conserved forest area, but the encroaching intense deforestation poses threats to its survival in the future. Unfortunately, the devaluation of the Colombian peso has increased the costs of essential field research equipment, which has been a challenge for his project. Working in tropical humid forests has also meant some challenges for equipment, and unfortunately, one of the installed acoustic recorders did not record any data. Nevertheless, David will keep surveys going until next year and hopes to locate the Cloud-Forest Pygmy Owl in more locations.

This blog was written by Dr. Megan Murgatroyd, HWI's Associate Director of African and Asian program and Sammy Riccio, HWI's Donor Engagement Coordinator. You can learn more about Meg here and Sammy here.