Jonathan Slaght (L) and Sergei Avdeyuk (R) band a Blakiston’s fish owl. Photograph © Andrei Katkov

I’ve been working with Blakiston’s fish owls in Russia for ten years.

A decade of blizzards, floods, cramped quarters, and discovery; all to better understand this charismatic endangered species. The unwavering passion shown by my Russian colleagues Sergei Surmach and Sergei Avdeyuk has been nothing short of inspirational. These men have thrown everything at the owl–a true labor of love–working when there was time but not necessarily when there was money.

Together, the past decade that yielded a vast expansion of our scientific understanding of this salmon-eater and what we need to do to protect it.

Earlier this week, a peer-reviewed paper written by me and Sergei Surmach was released in Bird Conservation International, which is BirdLife International’s scientific journal. In many ways this paper is a culmination of our decade of work: a roadmap for Blakiston’s fish owl conservation in Russia.

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