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Kalama-Raptors

It’s no surprise that Associate Professor of Economics Chuck Stull, like most of his faculty colleagues, has a wide-ranging liberal arts-ish curiosity and sense of wonder. His biology and ornithology interests were piqued recently by a successful Red-Tailed Hawk predation of a Quad squirrel, which Stull managed to capture on camera.

In late December, the Kalamazoo Gazette carried an article about a Snowy Owl taking residence at the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo International Airport. Turns out, this year is an irruption of Snowy Owls, one of the largest on record. Often, Snowy Owls will take up residence near airports, which remind them of their tundra hunting grounds. The owl at the Kalamazoo airport died, most likely of starvation. Such an occurrence is sad, but not surprising. Up to 70 percent of the raptor offspring perish during their first winter—many from starvation. The hawk Professor Stull photographed may have better luck if he or she keeps in mind the campus’ squirrel-stocked Quad.

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