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Richard T. Reynolds

Research Wildlife Biologist

240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact Richard T. Reynolds

Current Research

  1. Determine the distribution and density of breeding territories, reproduction, survival, mate and territory fidelity, recruitment, and emigration/immigration of northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona.
  2. Assess the relationship between goshawk demographic performance and habitat conditions on territories.
  3. Identify the compositional and sturctural habitat elements that confer quality to goshawk breeding habitats.
  4. Investigate post-fledgling movements and dispersal of juvenile goshawks.
  5. Determine the causes and consequences of dispersal of adult, breeding goshawks.
  6. Identify factors affecting goshawk prey populations and the extent to which prey affects goshawk demographics.
  7. Investigate the utility of genetic fingerprinting for identifying individual goshawks from in capture-recapture studies.
  8. Investigate the utility of using color, pattern, and shape of molted feathers for for identifying individual goshawks in mark-recapture studies.
  9. Determine the effects of high vs low intensity fire on the habitat on goshawk prey populations and on goshawk habitat use.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the relationship between species' demographies -- their reproduction, survival, mate and territory fidelity -- and their habitat in order to identify habitat elements that distinguish among high quality and low quality habitats. This research necessarily requires long-term capture-mark-recapture work so that the demographic performance of known individuals can be related to the compositions and structures of habitats they use throughout their lives. Products of the research enhance our understanding of the importance of habitat characteristics in species' viability and helps managers provide quality habitats through management activities.

Past Research

An example of this demographically-based habitat research is our work on the northern goshawk, a 'sensitive' species and a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The focus of concern for this species was loss of habitat due to a forest management practices. The importance of our research on the hawk and its habitat was highlighted in a collaborative effort between animal ecologists, silviculturalists, and foresters to synthesize habitat-related knowledge of the plants and animals in this predator's food web to develop best-science management recommendations. This collaboration identified unique sets of desired habitat conditions that combined both a fine and coarse filter approach to multi-species conservation. The management recommendations were incorporated into forest plans of all National Forests in the Southwestern Region in 1996. Implementation improves visual quality, forage, wood products, and hydrologic function of forests; reduces fire hazards; and increases resilience to insects, disease, and climate change.

Why This Research is Important

  1. Initiated, conducted, and continue to collaborate on a 31-year capture-recapture investigation of the relationship between the habitat composition and structure and the demography of the flammulated owl in Colorado ponderosa pine forests.
  2. Initiated and conducted a 10-year study of the distribution, density, territory occupancy, and reproduction of Mexican spotted owls in Colorado.
  3. Initiated and conducted a 4-year study of birds , mammals, and herps in aspen and spruce-fir forests in Colorado and Wyoming.
  4. Collobratively initiated and conducted a northern goshawk habitat assessment for the entire Black Hills National Forest.


  • Oregon State University, B.S., Botony, Entomology, Zoology, History and Philosophy of Science, 1970
  • Oregon State University, M.S., Wildlife Ecology, 1975
  • Oregon State University, Ph.D., Animal Ecology, 1978
  • Featured Publications


    Reynolds, Richard T.; Lambert, Jeffrey; Kay, Shannon L.; Sanderlin, Jamie S.; Bird, Benjamin J., 2019. Factors affecting lifetime reproduction, longterm territory-specific reproduction, and estimation of habitat quality in northern goshawks
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Lambert, Jeffrey; Flather, Curtis H.; White, Gary C.; Bird, Benjamin J.; Baggett, L. Scott; Lambert, Carrie; Bayard de Volo, Shelley, 2017. Long-term demography of the Northern Goshawk in a variable environment
    Graham, Russell T.; Bayard de Volo, Shelley; Reynolds, Richard T., 2015. Northern goshawk and its prey in the Black Hills: Habitat assessment
    Dickson, Brett G.; Sisk, Thomas D.; Sesnie, Steven E.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Rosenstock, Steven S.; Vojta, Christina D.; Ingraldi, Michael F.; Rundall, Jill M., 2014. Integrating single-species management and landscape conservation using regional habitat occurrence models: The northern goshawk in the Southwest, USA
    Bayard de Volo, Shelley; Reynolds, Richard T.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Antolin, Michael F., 2013. Phylogeography, postglacial gene flow, and population history of North American northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis)
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Sanchez Meador, Andrew J.; Youtz, James A.; Nicolet, Tessa; Matonis, Megan S.; Jackson, Patrick L.; DeLorenzo, Donald G.; Graves, Andrew D., 2013. Restoring composition and structure in Southwestern frequent-fire forests: A science-based framework for improving ecosystem resiliency
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Boyce, Douglas A.; Graham, Russell T., 2012. Ponderosa pine forest structure and northern goshawk reproduction: Response to Beier et al
    Boyce, Douglas A. Jr.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Graham, Russell T., 2006. Goshawk status and management: What do we know, what have we done, where are we going?
    Wiens, J. David; Reynolds, Richard T.; Noon, Barry R., 2006. Juvenile movement and natal dispersal on northern goshawks in Arizona
    Wiens, J. David; Reynolds, Richard T., 2005. Is fledging success a reliable index of fitness in Northern Goshawks?
    Salafsky, Susan; Reynolds, Richard T.; Noon, Barry R., 2005. Patterns of temporal variation in goshawk reproduction and prey resources
    de Volo, Shelley Bayard; Reynolds, Richard T.; Topinka, J. Rick; May, Bernie; Antolin, Michael F., 2005. Population genetics and genotyping for mark-recapture studies of Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) on the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Wiens, J. David; Joy, Suzanne M.; Salafsky, Susan, 2005. Sampling considerations for demographic and habitat studies of Northern Goshawks
    La Sorte, Frank A.; Mannan, R. William; Reynolds, Richard T.; Grubb, Teryl G., 2004. Habitat associations of sympatric red-tailed hawks and northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau
    Johnson, Charles L.; Reynolds, Richard T., 2002. Responses of Mexican spotted owls to low-flying military jet aircraft
    Belnap, Jayne; Reynolds, Richard T.; Reheis, Marith; Phillips, Susan L., 2001. What makes the desert bloom? Contribution of dust and crusts to soil fertility on the Colorado Plateau
    Squires, John R.; Reynolds, Richard T., 1997. Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
    Graham, Russell T.; Jain, Terrie B.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Boyce, Douglas A., 1997. The role of fire in sustaining northern goshawk habitat in Rocky Mountain forests
    Joy, Suzanne M.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Knight, Richard L.; Hoffman, Richard W., 1994. Feeding ecology of sharp-shinned hawks in deciduous and coniferous forests in Colorado
    Graham, Russell T.; Jain, Terrie B.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Boyce, Douglas A., 1994. From single species management to ecosystem management, "The goshawk"
    Joy, Suzanne M.; Reynolds, Richard T.; Leslie, Douglas G., 1994. Northern goshawk broadcast surveys: Hawk response variables and survey cost
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Graham, Russell T.; Reiser, M. Hildegard, 1992. Management recommendations for the northern goshawk in the southwestern United States
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Linkhart, Brian D., 1990. Extra-pair copulation and extra-range movements in Flammulated Owls
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Linkhart, Brian D., 1990. Longevity records for male and female flammulated owls
    Linkhart, Brian D.; Reynolds, Richard T., 1987. Brood division and postnesting behavior of Flammulated Owls
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Linkhart, Brian D., 1984. Methods and materials for capturing and monitoring flammulated owls
    Reynolds, Richard T.; Scott, J. M.; Nussbaum, R. A., 1980. A variable circular-plot method for estimating bird numbers
    Northern goshawk research technician standing in an example of an idealized ponderosa pine forest on the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona.
    Throughout the Rocky Mountains over the last century, large ponderosa pine trees provided lumber for growing cities and towns, along with fuel and timber for the mining and railroad industries. Most of these forests are now occupied by dense young and mid-aged forests highly susceptible to being killed by bark beetles and burned by wildfires. These conditions have been exacerbated by fire suppression and urban encroachment. As a result, knowledge is needed to inform management actions directed at restoring and conserving ponderosa pine forests. 
    Example of a forest structure suitable for northern goshawks and producing high quality timber
    Wildlife habitat and timber production are critical elements of the management of many National Forests. The Black Hills National Forest has provided a thriving timber economy for over 100 years. The forest also provides habitat for the northern goshawk, which has been severely impacted by mountain pine beetles. 
    Northern goshawk nestlings
    The elusive northern goshawk, its forest habitats, and the habitats of its bird and mammal prey are significant conservation issues related to the management of forests throughout the hawk’s North American range.  The Rocky Mountain Research Station has been enumerating the population size and documenting the population ecology and demography of individual goshawks on Arizona’s Kaibab Plateau for 20 years with the objective of identifying the vegetation composition and structure of forests habitats that best supports their survival and reproduction.
    USDA Forest Service and University scientists and managers synthesized 100 years of published forestry science to help forest managers better understand the ecology of “frequent-fire” forests. Returning frequent-fire forests to their historical species composition and structure will increase their resilience to fire, insects, disease, and climate change.
    The northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is an apex predator in most forests in the United States and Canada. Natural resource managers need information on how 3-dimensional forest structure impacts habitat quality for northern goshawk. Scientists with the Rocky Mountain Research Station are addressing this need by combining 21 years of demographic research with recently acquired high-resolution LiDAR data.
    Forest composition and structure strongly influence goshawk habitat selection and hunting behavior, prey abundance, and goshawk reproduction and survival. Research by the Rocky Mountain Research Station is providing insights into how to disperse and sustain habitats of plants and animals in the goshawk food web in large landscapes.
    Land managers require high-quality information on species and habitats at risk to develop effective management strategies. In the absence of information on these species and their habitats, agencies frequently err on the side of the species and make conservative, and often unnecessary, decisions relative to habitat protection. Over 20 years of research by scientists with the Rocky Mountain Research Station are helping address these information needs.