Victoria Dreitz

Photo of Dreitz, Victoria

Victoria Dreitz

Assistant Professor, Wildlife Biology Program; Director, Avian Science Center


Office Hours:

Fall 2016: Tuesdays: 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM, Thursdays: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM or by appt

Personal Summary

I joined the faculty in the Wildlife Biology Program and the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences at the University of Montana in Jan 2012.  My prior experience includes over 7 years as a Research Scientist for the State of Colorado's wildlife management agency, Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  My post-doctoral experiences range from population and demographic modeling to disease ecology to applied species conservation.  I received my PhD from the University of Miami (Florida) in which I had an unique opportunity to work with many of the quantitative scientists at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and my BS from Colorado State University.  In general, my research interests are broad focusing on basic and applied questions on population and community ecology in numerous ecosystems.


1994    BS      Colorado State University
2000    PhD    University of Miami

Courses Taught

  • WILD 170 - Fish and Wildlife Interest Group
  • WILD 180 - Careers in Wildlife Biology
  • WILD 370 - Wildlife Habitat Conservation & Management

Research Interests

My research interest involves multiple major disciplines including conservation biology, wildlife management, population and community ecology, and most recently, ecosystem ecology.  I am most interested in the conservation challenges that interface the demand of the world’s ecosystems to support the growing human population.  My long-term research program (> 10 years) focuses on understanding environmental (i.e., weather, climate, habitat) and anthropogenic impacts (i.e., modern land use practices) on short-grass prairie systems.   Over the tenure of this research program, I have established a productive partnership with private landowners within the agricultural industry; cultivating conservation practices and implementing management strategies within a prairie ecosystem.  I have expanded my interests with another research program in mixed-grass/sagebrush prairie system in eastern Montana.  I initiated this program in 2012 with the main objective to investigate impacts of human land use practices – predominantly domestic livestock grazing - on the ecological functioning and processes of this mixed-grass/sagebrush prairie system. 

In addition, I have an interest in using wildlife monitoring programs to assist in developing and informing conservation plans for biodiversity.  I believe that monitoring programs need to be adaptive; building on the past and learning from the present to meet the needs of the future. 

See the Avian Science Center website for more information about the research programs that interest me and the work I'm conducting.

Selected Publications

Hauer, F.R, H. Locke, V.J. Dreitz, M. Hebblewhite, W.H. Lowe, et al. 2016. Gravel-bed river floodplains are the ecological nexus of glaciated mountain landscapes.Science Advances. 2doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600026

Dreitz, V.J., L.T. Stinson, B.A. Hahn, and P.M. Lukacs.  In review.  A multi-scale perspective for managing prairie avifauna assemblages across the western US: influences of land ownership and landscape features.  The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

Riordan, M.M., P.M. Lukacs, K.P. Huyvaert, and V.J. Dreitz.  2015.  Evaluating offspring early stage sex ratios in Mountain Plover.  Avian Ecology and Conservation: [online] URL:

Walsh, D.P., V.J. Dreitz, and D. Heisey.  2015. Integrated survival analysis using an event-time approach in a Bayesian framework.  Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1399

Stinson, L.T., and V.J. Dreitz.  2014.  Within-season nest reuse by Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus) in eastern Colorado.  Western North American Naturalist 74:130-132.

Dreitz,  V.J., R.Y. Conrey, and S.K. Skagen.  2012.  Drought and cooler temperatures are associated with higher nest survival in Mountain Plovers.  Avian Conservation and Ecology: [online] URL:

Dreitz, V.J., L.A. Baeten, T. Davis, and M.M. Riordan.  2011.  Testing radio transmitter attachment techniques on chicks of galliforms.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 35: 475-480.

Knopf, F.L. and V.J. Dreitz.  2008 (Published 2011).   Population and politics of a Plover.  Endangered Species Update: 110-114.

Dreitz, V.J. 2010.  Transmitters for tiny chicks.  Wildlife Professional 4:71.

Dreitz, V.J.  2010.  Mortality of parental Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus) during the post-hatching stage.  Avian Conservation and Ecology: [online] URL: http://www.ace-eco/vol5/iss1/art4/.

Dinsmore, S.J., M.B. Wunder, V.J. Dreitz, and F.L. Knopf.   2010.  An assessment of factors affecting population growth of the Mountain Plover.  Avian Conservation and Ecology: [online] URL: http://www.ace-eco/vol5/iss1/art5/.

Dreitz, V.J.  2009.  Parental behavior of a precocial species:  implications for juvenile survival.  Journal of Applied Ecology 46: 870-878.

Tipton, H.C., P.F. Doherty, Jr., and Dreitz, V.J.  2009.  Abundance and density of Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) and Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) in eastern Colorado.  Auk 126:493-499.

Lukacs, P.M., and V.J. Dreitz.  2009.  Young survival from marked adults. In Program MARK: a gentle introduction, E.Cooch and G.C. White (eds.).

Augustine, D.J., S.J. Dinsmore, M.B. Wunder, V.J. Dreitz, and F.L. Knopf.  2008.  Response of Mountain Plovers to plague-driven dynamics of black-tailed prairie dog colonies.  Landscape Ecology 23: 689-697.

Tipton, H.C., V.J. Dreitz, and P.F. Doherty, Jr.  2008.  Occupancy of Mountain Plover and Burrowing Owl in Colorado.  Journal of Wildlife Management 72: 1001-1006.

Muths, E., and V.J. Dreitz.  2008.  Monitoring programs to assess reintroduction efforts:  a critical component in recovery.  Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 31.1:47-56

Dreitz, V.J. and F.L. Knopf.  2007.  Mountain Plovers and the politics of research on private lands.  BioScience 8:681-687.

Dreitz, V.J.  2006.  Issues in species recovery: an example based on the Wyoming toad.  BioScience 56:765-771.

Dreitz, V.J., P.M. Lukacs, and F.L. Knopf.  2006.  Monitoring low density avian population: an example using Mountain Plovers.  Condor 108:700-706.

Mettenbrink, C.W., V.J. Dreitz, and F.L. Knopf.  2006.  Nest success of Mountain Plover relative to anthropogenic edges in eastern Colorado.  Southwest Naturalist 51:191-196.

Dreitz, V.J., M.B. Wunder, and F.L. Knopf.  2005.  Comparative movements and home ranges of mountain plover broods in three Colorado landscapes.  Wilson Bulletin 117: 128-132.

Lukacs, P.M., V.J. Dreitz, F.L. Knopf., and K.P. Burnham.  2004.  Estimating survival probabilities of unmarked dependent young when detection is imperfect.  Condor.  106:927- 932 

Dreitz, V.J., W.M. Kitchens, and D.L. DeAngelis.  2004. The effects of natal dispersal and environmental state on survival of juvenile Snail Kites in Florida.  Auk.  121:894-903

Wolfe, L.L., M.M. Conner, T.H. Baker, V.J. Dreitz, K.P. Burnham, E.S. Williams, N.T. Hobbs, and M.W. Miller. 2002.  Evaluation of antemortem sampling to estimate chronic wasting disease prevalence in free-ranging mule deer.  Journal of Wildlife Management.  66:564-573.

Bennetts, R.E., W.M. Kitchens, and V.J. Dreitz.  2002.  Influence of an extreme high water event on survival, reproduction, and distribution of Snail Kites in Florida, USA.  Wetlands: 366-373.

Dreitz, V.J., J.D. Nichols, J.E. Hines, R.E. Bennetts, W.M. Kitchens, and D.L. DeAngelis.  2002  The use of resighting data to estimate the rate of population growth of the Snail Kite in Florida.  Journal of Applied Statistics 29: 609-623.

Dreitz, V.J., R.E. Bennetts, B. Toland, W.M. Kitchens, and M.W. Collopy.  2002.  Snail Kite nest success and water levels: a reply to Beissinger and Snyder.  Condor 104: 218-222.

Pine, W.E., M.S. Allen, and V.J. Dreitz.  2001.  Population viability of the Gulf of Mexico sturgeon in the Suwannee River, Florida.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 130:1164-1174.  

Dreitz, V.J., R.E. Bennetts, B. Toland, W.M. Kitchens, and M.W. Collopy.  2001.  Spatial and temporal variability in nest success of Snail Kites in Florida: a meta-analysis. Condor 103: 502-509.

Dreitz, V.J. and J.A. Duberstein.  2001.  The use of red mangrove as nesting substrate for Snail Kites in Florida.  Florida Field Naturalist 29: 49-50.

Bennetts, R.E., V.J. Dreitz, W.M. Kitchens, J.E. Hines, and J.D. Nichols.  1999.  Annual survival of Snail Kites in Florida: radio telemetry versus capture-resighting data.  Auk 116:435-447.

Dreitz, V.J. and M.R. Shannon.  1998.  The occurrence of Snail Kite nests with four fledglings in Florida.  Florida Field Naturalist 26:122-123.

Bennetts, R.E., K. Golden, V.J. Dreitz, and W.M. Kitchens.  1998.  The proportion of Snail Kites attempting to breed and the number of breeding attempts per year in Florida.  Florida Field Naturalist 26:77-108.

Bennetts, R.E. and V.J. Dreitz.  1997.  Possible use of wading birds as beaters by Snail Kites, boat-tailed grackles, and limpkins.  Wilson Bulletin 109:169-173.