Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Public Program Offerings This Fall!

New Public Program Offerings This Fall!

By Margie Menzies, Public Program Director
Fall is in the air, and I'm excited to be in my fifth season at Hawk Ridge. I love spending my fall outside taking part in everything fall has to offer, including another wonderful year observing the migration season first hand. This year I have taken on the role of coordinating public programs for Hawk Ridge, and have been busy over the summer setting up all sorts of things to provide Hawk Ridge visitors more great opportunities to learn more about the birds.

Margie with hatch year Broad-winged Hawk (photo by Hawk Ridge staff)

Minnesota Birds Evening Speaker Series

Have you been following the travels of “Jack #53” the Satellite transmitter fitted adult male Golden Eagle banded at Hawk Ridge in fall of 2013, and want an update about Jack and other Golden Eagles with transmitters? What about those feisty, fascinating Black-capped Chickadees in your backyard or the Peregrine Falcons nesting along Lake Superior? If any or all these topics sound interesting to you, then you are in luck, we have started a new series of programs this fall at Hawk Ridge featuring our Minnesota Birds and what we have been learning about them.  The series is taking place at 7 pm on Saturday Evenings, Sept. 27th, and Oct. 10th, 17th & 24th at Hartley Nature Center, and will be free to Hawk Ridge and Hartley members with a suggested $5 donation from anyone else who would like to come. We started the series with Sparky Stensaas on Saturday September  5 then continued with Dr. Jerry Niemi on Saturday September 12, and had a great turnout for our first two events. See the Hawk Ridge website for the full schedule and much more information, and come join us to learn more about Minnesota birds!
Black-capped Chickadee (photo by Laura Erickson)

Evening Owl Programs

Most visitors to Hawk Ridge are aware of the daytime movement of birds, but many are unaware that our efforts to learn more about birds continue on through the night! Evening Owl Programs will shine a light onto the mysterious nature of the nocturnal migrants flying over Hawk Ridge on Oct. 3rd and of course on Oct. 31, Owl-o-ween! Participants will learn about the research methods being used to study owl activity in the area as well as how to identify many of the species that can be observed in Northern Minnesota by sight and sound. This year the programs will be held at 8 pm at the Hawk Ridge Overlook classroom area weather permitting or at Hartley Nature Center if the weather turns sour. Cost is $5.00 per person and there is a limit of 60 tickets per event. Tickets are available through the Hawk Ridge website, or for purchase at the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve main overlook merchandise trailer or by calling (218) 428-6209 between 9am-4pm. Laura Erickson will be presenting our October 31st program!
Northern Saw-whet Owl (photo by Karen Stubenvoll)

Private Owl Programs

Speaking of Owls, are you interested in a smaller group owl experience? This year we are offering just a few private owl programs which can be scheduled in advance for group sizes of up to 8. Depending on the night, the program will last roughly 1.5 to 2 hours and could involve  watching the banding of owls captured, their release back to the wild, and certainly the opportunity to learn much more about the owls found in our area as well as those migrating through. This experience is dependent on weather and available staff. Contact Margie Menzies, to learn more and arrange this unique opportunity.
Barred Owl (photo by Hawk Ridge staff)

When the Large Birds Soar (2-day workshop)

There are just a few spots left and still time to register for the 2-day "When the Large Birds Soar" (Oct. 10 and 11) workshop session. Explore why Hawk Ridge is such an exceptional place to see fall bird migrations, experience first-hand some of the research efforts at the Ridge, including the raptor, passerine, and owl banding stations, follow daily trends to see how the 2015 season is stacking up. This a great opportunity for close up views of a wide variety of bird species! More information available on the Hawk Ridge website:
Adult Red-tailed Hawk (photo by Chris Neri)

Advanced Hawkwatching Workshops
 Join Dave Carman on Oct. 17 for Advanced Hawkwatching in the afternoon, or Family Hawkwatching in the morning. Go to our public program calendar at for details.
Rough-legged Hawk (photo by Chris Neri)

Morning Bird Hikes at Hawk Ridge

Saturday and Wednesday mornings through September and October, our naturalist Clinton Nienhaus will be leading 8:00 am bird hikes at Hawk Ridge. Bring your binoculars, wear good walking shoes and meet Clinton at the overlook to explore the amazing trails and ecosystems contained within the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Every day of the fall migration provides a unique glimpse into the stories of the birds, their migratory journeys, and their interactions with critical habitat on route to their winter homes. No need to sign up in advance, just show up ready to go. Suggested donation $5.00. Morning bird hikes are weather dependent, and may be cancelled due to rain.
Clinton is ready for a hike! (photo by Karen Stubenvoll)

Weekend Public Programs at Hawk Ridge

Weekends at the Overlook have a number of opportunities to learn more about birds, migration, and hawk watching. Look for morning and afternoon programming options on Saturday and Sunday. No need to register in advance for these programs. Sunday mornings, stop by to see what sorts of songbirds are being banded at the Overlook. More information available on the bulletin board at the overlook. Stop in to see what’s happening, or look at the Hawk Ridge calendar online at in advance to see what’s on the schedule.
Blue Jay (photo by Katie Rymer)
More events coming soon...!!

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information on other opportunities still being developed like the kid's mini-Race for the Birds event coming in October, special events on Owl-o-ween, October 31st, or guided hikes to Summit Ledges to explore the connection between geology and bird migration, and a less viewed outstanding overlook for amazing looks at migrating birds.  Look for more details soon!
Hawk Ridge Vista (photo by Karen Stubenvoll)

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