Team Profile: Shantel KoenigPh.D. Landscape Ecologist & GIS Specialist
Shantel started with Fiera in October of 2016, and brought highly valued capabilities in complex spatial modelling and statistical analysis. She came with a Masters in Geographic Information Systems, and completed her PhD a short while after settling in. Her graduate research focused on using Spatial Interaction Models (SIMS) to model metapopulations and analyze landscape connectivity. Since then, her experience creating Resource Selection Function (RSF) models for species at risk, processing and analyzing wildlife movement (telemetry) data, creating land cover classifications, and conducting habitat connectivity analysis using a variety of spatial modeling techniques has been invaluable. During her time with us she has published two peer reviewed research papers, one in the field of theoretical ecology, and another in the field of remote sensing, and contributed significantly to at least a dozen high profile technical reports. When Shantel isn’t in the office helping to make Fiera awesome, there is a good chance that she is riding a muddy bicycle somewhere really, really fast, playing electric base on a jazz or folk music album, or countering the stigma associated with having advanced statistical skills by posting images of her beloved cat, Ella.
It’s owl nesting season folks, and here’s why you should give a hoot!
In Alberta, great horned owls can start their mating/nesting as early as January. That’s a pretty crazy time to be thinking about incubating an egg on top of some sticks precariously tangled in the top of a tree, but that’s what these monogamous perching predators are into. Who are we to judge?
Owls on the edge!
When most people think of nests, they think of deep, basket-shaped, feather-lined structures, but the truth for great horned owls can be much different. The platform nests they often prefer leave their eggs and their young exposed to the Alberta elements, that is unless mom is there to keep them incubated and warm. Can you imagine being a nestling, sitting on what amounts to a coffee table mounted on the end of a flagpole while virtually naked, in an Alberta winter windchill? Given those conditions its easy to see why survival of baby owls can be pretty tenuous. Unattended owlets can easily succumb to the elements, or fall prey to ravens, and a host of other predators. Thats why it’s very important that the parents are not disturbed by human activity during the nesting period.
Owl nests are protected
In fact, this is so important for all raptors (owls, hawks, eagles, falcons) that the Alberta Wildlife Act protects active raptor nests from any disturbance by people. That means that any land clearing or industrial activity happening in tree stands or woodlots this time of year (January through May) could not only be causing some dangerously chilly and unhappy baby owls, but could also be a violation of the law! Thats why you should call a professional wildlife biologist for advice before doing any land clearing of tree stands or woodlots this time of year.
Give us a hoot!
Where the heck do you find a professional wildlife biologist? Good question, just contact us, and we will put you in touch with a good one!
Using Drones and Remote Sensing Techniques to make Habitat Management Decisions!
These days it seems everyone and their dog has gone a little bit drone crazy! From wedding photographers and real-estate agents, to land surveyors and engineering firms, just about everyone has a drone and is touting it as evidence of their innovation. Unfortunately, most of the innovation is unrealized because so few have the knowledge and technical ability do anything other than produce pretty pictures. Read more
This week, I heard my first robin of the season. That bubbly, cheery song, like nothing else, tells me that spring is here… and that more birds are on their way! I’m not sure which I’m most excited about. Yes, I’m one of those weird people who loves birds. Not that liking birds is weird, but the thing I look forward to most is conducting bird point count surveys, which involves waking up really, really early. That’s the weird part, I guess. Read more