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James Belthoff, Ph.D.

James Belthoff

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Year arrived at Boise State University:   1993

Mailing Address:
Department of Biological Sciences
1910 University Drive, Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515

Office Location:   Science Building,  Room 119
Office Number:   208-426-4033
Fax Number:   208-426-1040
E-Mail Address:


  • B.S., Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University, 1982
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, 1987
  • Ph.D., Zoology, Clemson University, 1992


  • BIOL 433/533 Behavioral Ecology
  • BIOL 434/534 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 603 Advanced Biometry
  • BIOL 425 Basic and Applied Data Analysis in Biology
  • BIOL 505 Applied Raptor Biology
  • BIOL 562 Advanced Topics in Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 598 Graduate Seminar


burrowing owl banding, Birds of Prey Area, REU students with Jim Beltoff, Biology, John Kelly photoburrowing owl banding, Birds of Prey Area

I am interested in the behavioral ecology, physiology, conservation, and management of birds. Much of my research focuses on birds of prey as part of our Raptor Biology program, although my students and I also pursue research on other species. I have current projects related to the behavioral ecology and conservation of burrowing owls, roadway mortality of barn owls, post-fledging behavior of western screech-owls, the role of burrowing owls in plague ecology, host-parasite relationships in burrowing owls, population ecology of forest owls, and ecotoxicology of ferruginous hawks.

Students interested in graduate projects leading to either an MS or PhD can contact me directly, but I do not have specific plans to bring on students during fall 2018 as of now. I will update this web page with student opportunities when they arise.


I also serve as Principal Investigator and Project Director for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site in Raptor Research at Boise State University. This REU site is funded by the National Science Foundation, and Boise State University partners with the Raptor Research Center, Intermountain Bird Observatory, College of Western Idaho, The Peregrine Fund, Inc., and the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area to provide opportunities for undergraduate research focused on birds of prey. Please see our program web site for further information

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  • Wade, J.L. and J.R. Belthoff. 2016. Responses of female burrowing owls to alterations in clutch size: are burrowing owls determinate or indeterminate egg-layers? Journal of Raptor Research 50:84-91.
  • Belthoff, J.R., S.A. Bernhardt, C.L. Ball, M. Gregg, D.H. Johnson, R. Ketterling, E. Price, and J.K. Tinker. 2015. Burrowing owls, Pulex irritans, and plague. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 15:556-564.
  • Graham, C.B., R.J. Eisen, and J.R. Belthoff. 2015. Detecting burrowing owl bloodmeals in Pulex irritans (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 177:446-450.
  • Belthoff, J., E. Arnold, T. Regan, T. Allen, and A. Kociolek. 2015. Assessing feasibility of mitigating barn owl-vehicle collisions in southern Idaho. RP 226, Idaho Transportation Department Research Program. 147 pp.
  • Riding, C.S. and J.R. Belthoff. 2015. Removal of old nest material decreases reuse of artificial burrows by burrowing owls. Wildlife Society Bulletin 39:521-528.
  • Scholer, N.M., M. Leu, and J.R. Belthoff. 2014. Factors associated with flammuated owl and northern saw-whet owl occupancy in southern Idaho. Journal of Raptor Research 48:128-141.
  • Welty, J.L., J.R. Belthoff, J.R. Egbert, and H. Schwabl. 2012. Relationships between yolk androgens and nest density, laying date, and laying order in western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea). Canadian Journal of Zoology 90:182-192.
  • Boves, T.J. and J.R. Belthoff. 2012. Roadway mortality of barn owls in Idaho, USA. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:1381-1392.


  • Dr. Maitreyi Sur, Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Ariana Dickson, Raptor Biology MS Program
  • Sara Pourzamani, Raptor Biology MS Program
  • Skyler Wysocki, Raptor Biology MS Program
  • Diane White, Biology MA Program


  • R. Andrew King – US Fish and Wildlife Service, Indiana
  • Ethan Ellsworth – Bureau of Land Management, Idaho
  • Brian Herting – Yakima School District, Washington
  • Kurt Zwolfer – Idaho Historical Society, Idaho
  • Ryan Brady – Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Catherine Rideout – US Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia
  • Katie McVey – US Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah
  • Keith Barnes – Boise School District, Idaho
  • Nicole Taylor – College of Idaho
  • Colleen Moulton – Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game
  • Than Boves – Arkansas State University
  • Matt Stuber – US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon
  • Brian Smith – US Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado
  • Micah Scholer – University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Justin Welty – US Geological Survey, Idaho
  • Corey Riding – Oklahoma State University
  • Chris Porterfield – Rocky Mountain Power
  • Jamie Wade – Biological Consultant, Alaska
  • Erin Arnold – Santa Barbara Zoo, California
  • Tempe Regan – Intermountain Bird Observatory, Idaho


Currently, I am not recruiting new students, but opportunities sometimes arise on short notice so please feel free to contact me with interest.

student with bird""""