April 5, 2004
Awards and Honors
Predatory bird researcher Brian Walton honored
by Audubon Society
By Tim Stephens
Brian Walton, coordinator of the Santa
Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group (SCPBRG) at UCSC, was honored
last week as an Audubon champion at the annual Audubon California awards
luncheon in San Francisco.
Walton began studying peregrine falcons in high school and participated
in the first California peregrine falcon survey in 1970. That survey
found only two nesting pairs of falcons remaining in California. Under
Walton's leadership, SCPBRG helped bring the peregrine falcon back from
the brink of extinction to become one of the few endangered species
to be "delisted"--removed from the endangered species list--by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Walton graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and later earned a
master's degree from San Jose State University. He has been coordinator
of SCPBRG since 1976, where he leads research in captive breeding and
wildlife management of falcons, eagles, condors, and other rare or endangered
Walton said he is most proud that SCPBRG has been a starting point
for so many young biologists in his field and that the species they
have studied have responded so well to the management programs the group
has been involved with. Both peregrine and eagle numbers now exceed
the known historical population sizes estimated by biologists when management
activities began in the 1970s.
The Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife
and the habitat that supports them through a national network of community-based
nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and
advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations.
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