Brian Millsap


PhD Student: Brian Millsap
BS: Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University
MS: Systematics and Evolutionary Biology, George Mason University
Advisor:  Dr. Gary Roemer

My PhD research focuses on the biology of raptors between the time of fledging and settling permanently on a breeding territory, and the role of floaters (adults not in residence on a breeding territory) in population regulation. The objectives of my research are to determine how recruitment of female Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) influences individual fitness and population trajectory in a source – sink population dynamic. I plan to estimate vital rates and population dynamics of an urban source Cooper’s Hawk population in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and compile data on the population trajectory of a surrounding declining regional population.  Simultaneously, a sample of radio-tagged female Cooper’s Hawks from the source population will be followed intensively for their first three years to determine individual movement and recruitment patterns, age-at-first breeding, reproductive success, and age-related trends in ranging behavior, reproductive success, and survival. These data will be used to model how recruitment of females from the source population affects individual fitness and population growth rates, both within the source and potentially in the surrounding sink populations.

I am also employed as the National Raptor Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and split my time between my full-time job, work on my PhD, and family.

Selected Recent Publications:
Millsap, B. A., T. G. Grubb, R. K. Murphy, T. Swem.  2014.  Conservation significance of alternative nests of golden eagles.  Global Ecology and Conservation 3:233-241.

Millsap, B. A., A. R. Harmata, D. W. Stahlecker,  D. G. Mikesic.  2014. Natal dispersal distance of bald and golden eagles originating in the coterminous United States as inferred from band encounters.  Journal of Raptor Research 48(1): 13 – 23.

Millsap, B. A., G. S. Zimmerman, J. R. Sauer, R. M. Neilson, M. Otto, E. Bjerre, R. Murphy.  2013.  Golden eagle population trends in the western United States: 1968 – 2010.  Journal of Wildlife Management 77(7):1436–1448.

Millsap, B. A., T. F. Breen, and L. Philips.  2013.  Ecology of the Cooper’s hawk in north Florida.  North American Fauna 78.

Millsap, B.A., S. S. Seipke, and W.S. Clark.   2011.  The gray hawk (Buteo nitidus) is two species.  Condor 113:326-339.