Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A few volunteer faces!

We have all said it thousands of times but it is so true that it is worth saying again, we could not do the work we do without the Hawk Ridge volunteers. Every year we are recruiting new volunteers and have returning volunteers that come year after year. They all bring there own flare and skills along with them and have interests in different parts of Hawk Ridge. Meet a few of this seasons new volunteers.

Eloyes Hill

Eloyes is a new volunteer as of this year. She is retired from her day job but she finds many other things to fill her time. Eloyes is a master naturalist and spends some time doing classes on the weekends. Eloyes lives in Duluth so she is able to come to the ridge often during the fall. She volunteers at the Hawk Ridge overlook around once a week. She is great to have around and is always on top of getting things done. The count board is updated and the visitors counts are done in a timely manner when she is around.  She is also full of good ideas and making sure she is "in the know" of what is going on that day.

Eloyes getting ready to release a juvenile, female Northern Harrier

Andy Witchger

Andy is also a first year volunteer. He does most of his volunteering for Hawk Ridge with the passerine banding program. He helps naturalist and bander in charge, Margie, at the main overlook doing educational songbird banding. Andy is a teacher of language arts in Minneapolis. He drives up to Hawk Ridge once a week. Andy has a keen interest in songbird banding and would like to continue to help Margie wherever she is banding.

Andy with a juvenile, male Sharp-shinned hawk

Taylor Birkelo

Taylor is a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is studying outdoor and environmental education. He is taking a class called field interpretive techniques and was required to volunteer some time at an organization that does environmental education. He chose Hawk Ridge because of his love of being outside in nature. Taylor is always helpful and open to doing what needs to be done. He is also interested in doing trail maintenance on the nature reserve if we need it.

These are just a few of the awesome volunteers that we have had up at Hawk Ridge this season. They all come from different walks of life, have different interests and different skills but are all here because of a fond interest in nature and birds. This is what makes the community involved with Hawk Ridge so special. We appreciate all the help, ideas and input that each and every one of our volunteers contribute. Having different volunteers at Hawk Ridge, give each season its own special twist. Thank you again to all the volunteers for their work and dedication.

Hawk Ridge Education - Season Memories

The season is winding down.  This is our last week of education programs with six private programs left.  By the end of the week, we will have given 75 private programs and 8 weekends of public programs.  We will have taught many people through our beginning hawk-watching program, Eyes on the Skies.  Our naturalists and volunteers on the road will have greeted and talked with countless visitors.  Clinton, our count interpreter, will have described field marks and behaviors as many birds flew over.
Clinton & Caitlin teaching at Hawk Ridge (J Long)

It's always a bit of a relief to be close to the end, after a busy fall season with much to do and little time.  I can start letting go of my eagle-eye attention to scheduling details and scholarship funds.  I can breathe a little slower and laugh a little lighter.  This is when I have time to pull out my little piece of paper with my "moments to remember" on it.

Here are a few of my favorites from this season:

I was teaching about why raptors migrate and helping the students discover that it is because their food/prey disappears.  So, I ask the 5th graders:  "What happens to snakes that Broad-winged Hawks eat?  Where do snakes go in the winter?"  One enthusiastic student waved her hand and excitedly and said, "Texas!" The teacher and I looked at each other and smiled through our stifled laughter. The student also laughed and shook her head as she figured out  that she misunderstood the question. All I could picture were all these snakes slithering along the roads heading for Texas.  When stuff like this happens, it provides a good learning opportunity and a memorable teaching moment.

We have talons that we show to the students.  They love this part.  I opened the box during one class and started pulling the talons out.  "Are they dead?", asked one incredulous young man.  That was another one that almost had me going.  "Well, yes, these talons are dead."

I received a phone call one afternoon.  A young person was on the other end who sounded just like my daughter.  The young person didn't identify themselves and I was pretty confused when he/she started talking about projects and Prairie Falcon, when I thought it was my daughter wondering about staying after school or some such thing.  Finally, I asked.  It was a young man - a student calling to find out if Prairie Falcons ever fly over Hawk Ridge.  "It is a rare occurrence, but yes, they do sometimes fly over Hawk Ridge."  He responded, "OH, THANK GOODNESS!"  It turns out that the students in his class were all doing reports on birds that flew past Hawk Ridge and the teacher thought that this student better confirm his bird.  He told me that his class was coming for a program at Hawk Ridge that week, and he asked, "Are you going to be there?"  "Yes, I'll be there.  See you on Wednesday."  That phone call made my day.

Naturalist, Matti, gave me a good one.  Short and sweet...  "I didn't know birds could be so cool!"

That's what we like to hear.

We're all tired by the end of the season.  It is a short and intense teaching season filled with many good birding days and lots of visitors and school groups. There are also slow bird days and days that include rescheduling for weather and keeping track of a multitude of details.  But the moments, experiences, and learning that takes place make the exhaustion worth it.

One more week.  I'll savor it.

Hawk Ridge Education Director, Gail, with Sharp-shinned Hawk (HR staff)
Gail Johnejack
Education Director

Friday, October 24, 2014

Last weekend of fall public programs at Hawk Ridge!

Dear Hawk Ridge Friends,

It always amazes me how fast the fall season at Hawk Ridge goes. This weekend is our last weekend of public programs & migration interpretation at the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve main overlook. We hope you stop by to join staff & volunteers in celebrating another great season and bid the birds farewell on their journeys south!


Northern Saw-whet Owl (M Durbin)
We still have tickets available for our last 2 Evening Owl Programs taking place tonight (Friday 10/24) at 8pm and tomorrow night (Saturday 10/25) at 8pm. We hope to have some live owls join us for this exciting educational program! You can reserve your tickets by calling 218-428-6209 or purchase in person at the Hawk Ridge merchandise trailer (9am-4pm). More info can be found online: http://www.hawkridge.org/education-programs/for-visitors/


LOCATION: Outdoor classroom at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve, East Skyline Parkway, Duluth
BAEA1  Eyes on the Skies - Beginning Hawkwatching

  COST: FREE, donations appreciated!

  DURATION: approx. 1 hour
  DESCRIPTION: Learn the basics of identifying raptors as they are migrating  
  overhead at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. Bin
oculars are provided.

  DATES/TIMES: Sat. Oct. 25th 11am; Sun. Oct. 26th 1pm

Margie with BCCH (K Stubenvoll)
 Songbird Banding

 COST: FREE, donations appreciated!

 DURATION: approx. 1 hour
 DESCRIPTION: Find out how birds are banded and learn the importan
ce of banding
 DATES/TIMES: Sun. 10/26 at 11am

Here are a few of our fall fundraisers & special events happening this weekend! 

Fall Raptors Raffle 

Buy a raffle ticket today for your chance to win a great prize! The annual raptors raffle helps support the bird education and research programs of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Prizes are: Eagle Optics 10x32 Ranger Binoculars, Duluth Pack Utility Pack (Navy), and Hawk Ridge Storm Creek Softshell Jacket (size L). 

You pick which prize you'd like to enter your raffle ticket for drawing. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in person at the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. Drawing will be held Sunday October 26th at the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve Main Overlook at 1pm. No need to be present to win, but must be 18 or older to purchase tickets. Thanks to Eagle Optics, Duluth Pack, & On the Limit for donating prizes! 

Hawk Ridge Membership Drive 

Begin or renew your membership TODAY through October 31st in person at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve and receive this Hawk Ridge hat featuring Broad-winged Hawks kettling over Lake Superior! (as shown in the picture, while supplies last)

Eat Brunch at Zeitgeist Arts Cafe & help support Hawk Ridge!

During the month of October, 5% of brunch proceeds from the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe will be donated to Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Brunch is on Sat. & Sun. from 10am-3pm. To enjoy great food and help support Hawk Ridge go to brunch at Zeitgeist Arts Café located at 222 E Superior St, Duluth, MN. Note: Zeigeist Arts validates 3 hours of parking at the Medical Arts ramp, located on First Street & 3rd Ave E (behind Sheraton hotel) in downtown Duluth. Bring your ticket with you to Cafe! http://www.zeitgeistarts.com/hawk-ridge-is-the-october-brunch-partner/

Vote for Hawk Ridge as Top Birdwatching spot!
Readers Choice

 Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve was nominated as one of the top 20 places in the U.S.A. for birdwatching by a panel of experts and chosen by USA TODAY Readers and 10Best! One vote per day through November 10th online at: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-birdwatching/hawk-ridge-minn/

Visit us at Hawk Ridge NOW through October 31st!

One more week to go until our staff & volunteers wrap up the public hawkwatching & migration interpretation at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve! The daily count report can be found at: http://www.hawkcount.org/month_summary.php?rsite=288. Naturalist staff and volunteers are at the Hawk Ridge Main Overlook daily from 9am-4pm through October 31st. For information on visiting us, please go to: http://www.hawkridge.org/visit/visit.html.

Keep up with Hawk Ridge happenings with instant news!

Join us on Facebook to follow the action at http://www.facebook.com/HawkRidgeDuluth. You can also find us on Twitter and our Blog during the fall season. Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/Hawk_Ridge and our blog at: http://www.hawkridgeblog.blogspot.com/

Use GoodSearch or AmazonSmile and raise $$ for Hawk Ridge!
A simple way to raise money for Hawk Ridge is by using GoodSearch for your internet search engine: http://www.goodsearch.com/nonprofit/hawk-ridge-bird-observatory.aspx and for your online shopping, in which Hawk Ridge receives proceeds. Another way is via AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) select "Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory" and for eligible purchases made, AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Hawk Ridge!

Thanks again for your support! I hope to see you at the Ridge this weekend or before our season ends on October 31!


Janelle Long
Executive Director
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory