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Adam Duerr

Adam fishing with family.


My research focuses broadly on understanding bird ecology, mostly raptors now, to improve wildlife management. This information can be used by wildlife managers so they can affect the populations in ways that they want. I work on both conservation issues and wildlife damage issues. 


Some of the most interesting stuff that I’ve worked on is understanding flight behavior of golden eagles. We work to understand how golden eagles use three-dimensional environments: what they deal with, what is on the land surface as well as the aerial environment. Then we can understand where they’re likely to fly. The management part of that gives us a much better understanding of how golden eagles use that three-dimensional environment and when they’re at risk of colliding largely with wind turbines. 

I’m also working with bald eagles and black vultures to understand similar things relative to collisions with aircraft. 

What jobs did you have before coming to WVU?

Before WVU, I was a research professor at the College of William and Mary and I taught ornithology there for a couple semesters. 

What has been the best or most enjoyable time/class/moment in your job?

I think some of the best times that I’ve had have been interacting with wildlife graduate students at WVU. I helped teach a class that focused on mark-recapture analyses, which allowed the students to analyze data and apply them directly to their thesis or dissertation research.


Other best times for me are interacting with wildlife managers to learn what information they need to manage wildlife populations and designing research to get them that information.

What’s something you recently learned? 

I’m re-learning how important it is to be outside. As a research biologist, you progress to a point where you’re overqualified to do a bunch of stuff. My job, mostly what I get paid for, is data analysis. So I live in front of the computer. More recently, I’ve been taking my two daughters fishing and getting outside with them. It is reinvigorating. I’m trying to do more field work as well. Most of the stuff that we do is working with telemetry. Field work only involves capturing the birds, but the more often I get out in the field to see where birds may be causing damage or where eagles are, the more I am reminded how important it is to have that connection with nature so you can really better understand what’s going on and get a better feel for what the animals and the people that interact with them are experiencing. 

If you won a billion dollars, what would you do with the money?

First, I’d make sure that those in my family were taken care of. I’d make sure my daughters are set up for what they need in their lives. It would let them fulfill their dreams, but that’s only a portion of a billion dollars. I think the other big piece would be to figure out how to fund changes in our society. There are social justice issues that we have been facing in this country that need a lot more focus. Black Lives Matter clearly illustrates that BIPOC are not treated equally as white people. This extends to access to resources, such as COVID treatment and vaccines. BIPOC are also disproportionally affected by climate change.  

What were you most grateful for in 2020?

My family. I’m most grateful for my daughters and my wife. As everyone knows and says, it’s a year for the record books and without my family it would have been horrific. Just being able to spend the time with my wife and my girls to get through it, that has really been the best. 

What have you been excited for in 2021?

I’m most excited about continuing that natural education with my daughters. My older daughter just turned seven and my younger daughter is four. We took a walk in the woods yesterday and it was a blast watching them run around, playing in the water, looking at the different plants, rolling down hills. Getting them out so they can fish, ride bikes, go camping and not be in front of a screen is really exciting to me.


Just for Fun

What are you currently reading? A Collision Risk Model to Predict Avian Fatalities at Wind Facilities: An Example Using Golden Eagles

What’s your favorite meal? Anything I can cook on my grill.  

What’s a song that you can listen to on repeat? Roar by Katy Perry – My daughters play this on repeat all the time.  

What’s one thing you can’t live without? My family