Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Faces at Hawk Ridge, Fall 2014

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, I want to welcome our new staff members who have joined us this fall. There have been many familiar faces at the overlook, but also some new ones, and I'd like to introduce you to our enthusiastic new staff.

Steve Kolbe, Counter, came to Hawk Ridge from the Derby Hill hawkwatch. He is a native of Ohio, and has counted migrating raptors throughout the eastern U.S.A. Steve is super excited to be counting hawks and other birds in Duluth; in fact he has helped set new Minnesota records already this season, including Blue Jays and White-throated Sparrows.

Steve, looking for jaegers at Wisconsin Point, photo by Karen

Madi McConnell is our Owl Bander; she is a native of Pennsylvania, and has worked with Snowy Owls in Alaska, Long-eared Owls in Montana, and Northern Saw-whet Owls at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania; she also had an awesome experience working with seabirds in Antarctica. Madi is thrilled to be at Hawk Ridge this year for the owl migration.

Madi with Long-eared Owl, photo by Karen

Clinton Nienhaus is our Count Interpreter and also a Naturalist. A native of Winnebago, MN, he also serves on the board of the Duluth Audubon Society. He's the guy calling out helpful tips on hawk ID at the overlook and teaching visitors how to distinguish a Cooper's Hawk in flight from a sharpie, for instance. You can join Clinton for the Autumn Songbird Strolls on Park Point, 7 am Friday mornings at the end of the paved road at Sky Harbor Airport parking lot. 

Clinton at Hawk Ridge overlook, photo by Karen

Allie Quick, from Superior, WI, is a Naturalist. Allie loves her job and it shows in her friendly &  enthusiastic interactions with visitors at the overlook.

Allie with Northern Harrier, photo by Hawk Ridge staff

Kaitlin Alford is our Banding Trainee; she is a native of the state of Virginia and has also done field work in Australia. Kaitlin is getting plenty of hands-on experience in the banding station, and is hoping to use this experience to pursue a career involving wildlife or environmental education.

Kaitlin with Peregrine Falcon, photo by Miranda Durbin

Julia Luger is our Education Trainee; she is a native of Minnesota (the Twin Cities area), and had already been very familiar with Hawk Ridge as a volunteer both at the overlook and in the office. It's great having Julia lending her expertise with our education programs.

Julia at Hawk Ridge overlook, photo by Karen

In recognizing our new staff, I would also like to thank Rudy Hummel for his Snore Outdoors project. Rudy is the Hermantown High School student who slept outside for an entire year, and in the process, inspired people to donate money to both Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and to Habitat for Humanity. With the donations that we received, we funded the two trainee positions this year (banding station trainee and education trainee). Thank you Rudy for choosing Hawk Ridge! Rudy's parents are Hawk Ridge Education Director, Gail Johnejack, & her husband Mark Hummel.

By Karen Stubenvoll, Board Chair
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

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