Raptor Migration Study

In this activity, students will watch a video that details a research project studying raptor migration and answer questions.

By completing this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Explain how biologists are able to catch the raptors for this study.
  • Analyze the potential impact of wind turbines on raptor migration.
  • Evaluate the role that technology plays in wildlife conservation and management.

AND answer these CRITICAL THINKING questions:

  1. The beginning of the video described this research study as a form of “fishing” for raptors. In what ways is this similar and different to actual fishing? Why is it so effective as a method of capture?
  2. What might happen to these raptor populations if we were to build wind turbines in their migratory pathways?
  3. In what ways has technology improved our ability to study wildlife?
  4. The biologists mentioned that it is better to learn about the raptor migrations through a study like this rather than through the “hard way.” What does he mean?

More About this Lesson Plan

The Arizona Game and Fish Department produces an Emmy-winning television show called Arizona Wildlife Views. Individual segments from this show are made available to stream for free on YouTube. In an attempt to make these videos more classroom-friendly, we have reviewed a number of these video clips to provide useful information and strategies for bringing them into the classroom. This includes questions that can be discussed during and after the video has been watched as a class.

This specific video focuses on a new research study that the Arizona Game and Fish Department has begun to study raptor migration through the state. It provides good looks at the techniques used to capture raptors as well as good descriptions of the transmitters that are used.


  1. Why is the Aubrey Valley in northern Arizona a good location for migratory raptors? (Pause at 1:31 to discuss.)
  2. What is the purpose of the leather jacket that is placed on the pigeons? (Pause at 2:09 to discuss.)
  3. Why are the biologists trying to capture raptors? How do they trap them? (Pause at 3:20 to discuss.)
  4. Why are some raptors released without a transmitter? How was this problem solved the next year? (Pause at 4:40 to discuss.)
  5. Where did the red-tailed hawk that they were tracking end up migrating to? (Pause at 5:17 to discuss.)


  • Eric Proctor, Wildlife education coordinator,
    Arizona Game and Fish Department, February 2021

Standards Correlation

This lesson has been correlated to the following Arizona Department of Education academic standards:

  • 3rd Grade

    1. 3.L2U1.6
  • 5th Grade

    1. 5.L3U1.10
    2. 5.L4U3.11
  • 6th Grade

    1. 6.L2U3.11
  • High School

    1. HS.L2U3.18
    2. HS+B.L4U1.2

Education through AZGFD

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The goal of the AZGFD education program is to promote awareness, appreciation and stewardship of the state’s wildlife resources by using wildlife as a context for learning.

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