Dr Chris Vennum

PhD (Colorado State)

I am a quantitative ecologist working to understand and help mitigate anthropogenic effects on wildlife, particularly birds of prey. By developing demographic and spatial models I help identify population concerns and generate tools for conservation. Under this broad theme, my past work involved working in agricultural environments examining how modern agriculture influences habitat heterogeneity, how crop type(s) and growing practices either support or limit populations, and toxicology issues (i.e., lead, pesticides) - all common issues associated with working lands. My doctoral research (Colorado State University) examined the interactions between individual heterogeneity and territorial habitat quality on population-level processes through the entire life cycle (i.e., nest-dynamics, recruitment, to lifetime fitness) of a migratory raptor.

My work at the Fitz focuses on the movement ecology of large African raptors and potential interactions with renewable energy infrastructure, adding a new dimension of anthropogenic effects I study. Currently, I'm developing a wind turbine collision risk model for Martial Eagles across South Africa. This effort is part of a larger effort, by many great scientists, to inform conservation guidelines for several African raptorial specie


Kane, S.A., Vennum, C.R., Woodbridge, B., Collopy, M.W., Bloom, P.H. and Briggs, C.W. 2020. Age distribution and longevity in a breeding population of Swainson’s Hawks, Buteo swainsoni. Journal of Ornithology 161(3): 885-891.

Herring, G., Eagles‐Smith, C.A., Buck, J.A., Shiel, A.E., Vennum, C.R., Emery, C., Johnson, B., Leal, D., Heath, J.A., Dudek, B.M. and Preston, C.R., Woodbridge, B. 2020. The lead (Pb) lining of agriculture‐related subsidies: enhanced Golden Eagle growth rates tempered by Pb exposure. Ecosphere 11(1), e03006.

Vennum, C.R., Downs, C.J., Hayes, J.P., Houston, I., Collopy, M.W., Woodbridge, B. and Briggs, C.W. 2019. Early life conditions and immune defense in nestling Swainson’s Hawks. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 92(4): 419-429.

Dudek, B.M., Kochert, M.N., Barnes, J.G., Bloom, P.H., Papp, J.M., Gerhold, R.W., Purple, K.E., Jacobson, K.V., Preston, C.R., Vennum, C.R., Watson, J.W. and Heath, J.A. 2018. Prevalence and risk factors of trichomonas gallinae and trichomonosis in Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) nestlings in western north America. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 54(4): 755-764.

Lujàn-Vega, C., Johnson, C.K., Briggs, C., Vennum, C., Bloom, P., Hull, J.M., Cray, C., Pesti, D., Wolff, B., Ciembor, P., Ritchie, B., and Hawkins, M.G. 2018. Atypical chlamydiaceae in free-ranging populations of hawks (BUTEO SPP.) in northern California. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 49(1):108-115.

MacColl, E., Vanesky, K., Buck, J.A., Dudek, B.M., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Heath, J.A., Herring, G., Vennum, C. and Downs, C.J. 2017. Correlates of immune defenses in Golden Eagle nestlings. Journal of Experimental Zoology A 327(5): 243-253.