Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Hawk Ridge News - December 2022

 Dear Friends of Hawk Ridge,

Bald Eagle

Happy Holidays and thank you for being a supporter of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory! 2022 was an extra special year for the Hawk Ridge community, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. We also celebrated 50 amazing years of continued raptor research and education, as well as wonderful connections with visitors, members, donors, staff, volunteers and beautiful birds! THANKS to your support, we had another successful year! We invite you to read the November reports below, as well as our highlights from 2022. Wishing you all the best in the New Year and we look forward to connecting with you in 2023!  

November Research & Education Summaries

November 2022 Raptor Banding Summary

Northern Shrike

The month of November was low in numbers for banding with only 36 raptors banded plus a Northern Shrike - an honorary raptor. The major cause of the low numbers was warmer temperatures, which likely shut down late season migrants at the end of October into early November. The only significant front was after the 15th when conditions were favorable, but raptors had likely settled into territories. 

Golden Eagle Nov 30 22 by F Nicoletti H Toutonghi 4

The 30th, last day of the banding season, was extra special as I captured and banded a second-year male Golden Eagle. I had anticipated a good flight of raptors with the forecast of NW winds 20-30mph with higher gust. Temperatures were around 20 degrees with windchill below zero and partly sunny skies. I got to the station at 8:15 to clear the trapping area of the fresh 3” of snow from the previous day and night. A great flight indeed with good numbers of Bald Eagles (41) moving by the station along with 7 Golden and a scattering of a few other non eagles. I was fortunate enough to catch a second year male golden around 2:30 in the afternoon. The last raptor of the 2022 season and certainly the highlight of my season. I was able to share this remarkable bird with several HRBO folks and grad students.

Frank with Golden Eagle 11-30-22 by E Bruhnke

I’m so blessed to be able to work at an incredible place like Hawk Ridge. Thanks for all who support HRBO in so many ways. The end of season results will be shared soon with more highlights and fall details. 

November Banded Raptor Totals

Northern Harrier-1 

Sharp-shinned Hawk-5 

Northern Goshawk-4 

Red-tailed Hawk-7 

Golden Eagle-1 

Northern Saw-whet Owl-7

Long-eared Owl-11 

Northern Shrike-1 

Frank Nicoletti, Banding Director

November 2022 Bird Migration Count Report

Hawk Ridge Nov 22 by E Bruhnke

The 51st consecutive fall migration count season at Hawk Ridge wrapped up on 30 November. A total of 161 count hours over 26 non-consecutive days of counts were logged throughout the month. Inclement weather resulted in four days of no count being conducted. A total of 917 migrant raptors of 10 species were tallied from the observation platform between 01 and 30 November. The general trend was slightly lower-than-average November totals for most species. 

Adult male dark morph Rough-legged Hawk by E Bruhnke

RED- TAILED HAWKS (606) and BALD-EAGLES (966) were among the most abundant raptor species over the month, with both accounting for 85% of the monthly total alone. ROUGH- LEGGED HAWKS, which are often also among one of the most abundant late season raptor migrants, experienced a low November (and overall season) total compared to the ten-year average (2012-2021) of 309 – only approximately 1/3 of that number passed this November. 

GOEA 22 by F Nicoletti

Despite GOLDEN EAGLES having a higher-than-average October total, they also experienced a lower November total compared to the ten-year average (101), with just over half of that amount passing the ridge. NORTHERN GOSHAWKS are also historically among the most abundant raptor species to make passage in November with a ten-year average of 60. However, this year marked the lowest November total since 1989, as only nine migrant birds were documented passing the ridge. A late migrating BROAD-WINGED HAWK mixed in with kettles of Red- tailed Hawks on 7 November as the groups of buteos pushed their way down the distant lakeshore – the last of this species being seen from the ridge on 14 October. 

Pine Grosbeak by S McLaughlin

The non-raptor flight in November is typically comprised of later migrating waterbirds coupled with the arrival of winter finches and their allies (depending on the year). CANADA GEESE (1,108) were the most abundant non-raptor species moving throughout the month, followed by AMERICAN CROWS (372) beginning to migrate south out of the northern forests and AMERICAN ROBIN (324) wrapping up their migrations south. PINE GROSBEAK (223) was also among the most abundant winter passerine making movements south, with a peak day of 69 on 17 November. 

Red Crossbill by S McLaughlin

PINE SISKIN (215), AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (204), and COMMON REDPOLL (171) numbers were the next most abundant; however, not indicative of any large irruptions along the north shore this fall for any species. While experiencing larger irruptive movements very far south throughout much of the continent this fall, EVENING GROSBEAKS (158) only passed the ridge in modest numbers this fall. Both RED (132) and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS (30) were less abundant this fall as well. A total of ten NORTHERN SHRIKES passed during the month, at times piercing the cold wintery silence with their shrill vocalizations while briefly hunting the nearby chickadee feeder flocks. One TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE passed through the ridge as well – the second on the season. 

Thank you to everybody who came up to the ridge this past fall to enjoy the migration and community. The fall count will resume in 2023 in mid-August. 

Jess Cosentino, Fall Count Director

2022 Education Summary

Christmas Bird Count Season is always a fun time of year! Big numbers of Evening Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings turned up in the area counts!! Hooray for winter birds - it's so exciting to see them even in the throws of lots of snow! Like the Christmas Bird Count numbers, 2022 was a busy year for Hawk Ridge Education Programming. It seems every year keeps getting busier, and busier -which is great news when you are educating the world about the wonders of birds and their importance in the world!! 

Naturalist Sara measuring her wingspan

We continue to build spring migration programming and we were happy to welcome Sara DePew as a second educator and count interpreter for the spring season! We formally started spring education programming in 2019 with our reinstated spring count. In 2022, we hosted twice as many different school groups as our first year in 2019! We are definitely growing on the spring programming side of the spectrum! Summer 2022, was also the first year that we had a full-time education director on during the summer months and it was filled with programs. New programs that happened included welcoming Viking Great Lakes cruise passengers to Hawk Ridge for programming- we enjoyed educating people from all over the country and world with 7 cruise visits May through September. We also were able to offer the first Minnesota Master Naturalist Course through Hawk Ridge with a wonderful group of participants. We also had an assortment of bird programs for partnered area day camp programs and a number of outreach presentations as well. 

HRBO staff costumes 10-31-22

Fall, as always, was a busy season, with school programming getting much closer to what we remember pre-pandemic levels, and we were lucky to have an incredibly talented team of education trainees, interns, and naturalists to provide programming! Huge thank you to: Sara DePew, Jake Behrens, Sarah Wood, Chris Schnurbusch, Daniel Goldberg, Julia Luger, Allie Quick, Caroline Urban, Jamie Tiggs, Jason Heinen, Sophie Richardson, and Drake Hacker! Whew- it takes a small army to keep education programming going through the fall season! And many thanks as well to Lisa Oakland for managing the merchandise and the visitor services front, as well as Valerie Slocum leading our incredible team of volunteers for their efforts that support every aspect of Hawk Ridge programming. We had a lot of fun, as you can see by our last day costume photo on Oct. 31st!

Bird demo with Jake

During the fall, we provided more than 150 educational program opportunities for K12 schools, college groups, traveling groups, general public programming, owl programs, Hawk Weekend/50th Anniversary festival programs, virtual programs and workshops. All in all, nearly 3,000 participants took part in educational programming at Hawk Ridge over the fall. We also did more than 200 live bird demonstrations and interacted with thousands of Hawk Ridge visitors! Looking at the whole picture for 2022, we provided more than 220 formal programs for more than 4,200 participants! 

Stay tuned to our website and watch for Facebook posts for more opportunities to enjoy Hawk Ridge Educational Programming in 2023! Lots of interesting programming ahead, including our exciting international birding trip to Costa Rica next spring! Thank you for sharing in the magic of migration with us

Margie Menzies, Education Director


Broad-winged Hawk Migrating at Hawk RidgeAs we look to the new year and the next 50 years, we invite you to reflect on what Hawk Ridge means to you. One of the most memorable parts of our 50th celebration event in September was hearing the inspirational and heartfelt stories from attendees through the decades - memories of a special visit, a meaningful bird release, an exciting big migration day, reuniting or being united with friends and loved ones at Hawk Ridge, or the simple magic and joy of watching birds. We appreciate all that Hawk Ridge brings to people and bird conservation and we can’t thank you enough for being part of that. 



Counters 2022

During our 2022 Spring and Fall seasons, our skilled and focused counters documented over 84,000 raptors of 18 different species, as well as 163,000+ other migrating birds of 160+ species. Above 10-yr average numbers were counted this fall for Northern Harrier, Broad-winged Hawk, and American Kestrel. A surprise first record of a Swallow-tailed Kite was recorded! In total, over 3.2 million raptors have been counted at Hawk Ridge since the start in 1972.


GOEA 22 H Toutonghi

We continue to run the largest raptor banding operation in the country. Our stellar banding team, led by Frank Nicoletti, banded over 2200 raptors (hawks, falcons, eagles, owls) in fall 2022. A few highlights included a Golden Eagle Banded on the last day of the season and the E. Screech Owl returning for the 5th year! Dedicated volunteers continued passerine banding at Hawk Ridge, including the summer MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) research project, with the leadership of David Alexander and Margie Menzies.

Education Trainee Chris with Kestrel Oct 22


Seven trainees, five research and two environmental education, received exceptional professional field experience within our count, banding, and education programs. We collaborated with students from University of MN Duluth on graduate research projects and other outdoor education classes.


HRBO Volunteers helping visitors

Hawk Ridge Education Director, Margie Menzies, and our amazing education team taught more than 220 educational programs in 2022, reaching over 4200 participants of all ages! Thousands of visitors at Hawk Ridge shared in the magic of migration with us and learned through our live bird education demos, kid’s cart activities, school field trips and public programs. We also provided workshops, outreach events, and virtual programs throughout the year. Our volunteer program engaged nearly 70 people that contributed a total of approx. 3,000 hours in 2022. Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers!


50th Anniversary Event Logo 2022 by Emma Regnier

2022 marked the 50th anniversary of Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve and 50 years of continued raptor research & education! We celebrated with a memorable festival weekend September 22nd-25th. Over 200 attended the kick-off banquet at the Greysolon Ballroom in celebration of the past, present, and future with heartfelt stories and speakers through the decades. A poster session was held Friday evening at the Great Lakes Aquarium and presentation Saturday evening at UMD both highlighting 50 years of Hawk Ridge research. Dr. Robert Rosenfield received the Hawk Ridge Lifetime Achievement award for exceptional contributions to raptor research inspired by early years at Hawk Ridge. It was a wonderful weekend! 


Jan and John Green Sept 22 by S DePew

Volunteers helped lead important site stewardship management projects at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve, such as trail maintenance and invasive species control. An exciting highlight is the acceptance of our Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve Facilities Plan by the City of Duluth for educational and safety improvements for visitors. This project includes a new accessible trail, permanent restroom, additional education program spaces, observation deck, and more! We look forward to continuing progress and sharing more with you in 2023!

With your generosity and support today, we will soar into the next 50 years! Your investment in our mission will help us continue to protect birds, launch new exciting initiatives and events, and foster those special connections built between the birds, the people, and the place at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. This incredible work happening each year is thanks to our amazing staff, volunteers, and the generosity of members and donors, like you. Thank you in advance for your consideration in a year-end gift, which can be made online HERE

From all of us at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, we send our warmest wishes and sincere gratitude for you this holiday season and New Year.
Happy New Year and wishing you all the best in 2023! THANK YOU!


Janelle Long

Executive Director

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Hawk Ridge News - November 2022



Dear Hawk Ridge Friends,



November is here and it's always a nice month to begin to reflect on another great fall bird migration season. Thank you to all the wonderful visitors, members, volunteers, and staff for being part of magic of Hawk Ridge. It's such a special place for so many reasons - we're so grateful for the beautiful birds and connections with you! While our fall bird migration programs and visitor services at Hawk Ridge ended on Oct. 31st, our count and banding research continues through Nov. 30th. You can continue to follow along through the end of month by clicking our live full bird count HERE and raptor count HERE. Over 200,000 birds have been counted, including over 64,500 raptors of 18 species! You can find our October research & education summary reports below. P.S. Thurs. Nov. 17th is a special giving day here in MN for nonprofits with Give to the Max Day! We would sure appreciate your extra support, as any donation $5 or more is eligible to turn into a super-sized gift of $500, $1000, or even $10,000! You can contribute by clicking HERE! Thanks for your support!


Help Us Celebrate 50 Years by 

Giving to the Max for Hawk Ridge!

NOW through Thursday, November 17th


Banding Trainee Maggie (left) and Bander Abbie (right) with Golden Eagle by H Toutonghi

From seeing beautiful Golden Eagles to hopefully winning a Golden Ticket this November - please help us celebrate our 50th anniversary and Give to the Max for Hawk Ridge! Your special donation could turn into an extra $500 Golden Ticket during the early giving period taking place now or even better with a $10,000 Golden Ticket on Give to the Max Day this Thurs. Nov. 17th! 

GTMD22_square__GTMD22_square_full color

Each year, generous supporters like you celebrate Give to the Max Day by making your online donation. Your generosity on this day makes a difference far beyond the 24-hour giving event. Please consider making a donation on Thursday, November 17, 2022. Drawings will be held every 15 minutes during Give to the Max to grow your gift!

 Your gift could instantly turn into an extra $500, $1,000 or even $10,000 for us with the Golden Ticket! 


The more gifts we generate during Give to the Max Day, the more our chances increase to receive those additional prizes. Our year-end goal in celebration of our 50th anniversary is $50,000 and you can help us reach it and hopefully exceed it! You can easily make your gift online by visiting and searching for "Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory" or by simply clicking HERE to Give to the Max in support of Hawk Ridge! We truly appreciate your support on this special giving day! P.S. You can view our special 50th Anniversary Video HERE sharing history and highlights. 

October Bird Migration Count Summary

Fall Count 2022

The 51st consecutive fall migration count season at Hawk Ridge continued into October as the shift from late summer into autumn, and eventually early winter, conditions gradually unfold. A total of 286 count hours over 31 consecutive days of counts were logged throughout the month. A total of 11,058 migrant raptors of 15 species and 54 migrant non-raptor species were tallied from the observation platform between 1 and 31 October. 

Red-tailed Hawk_abcola by S McLaughlin

The month began with less favorable weather conditions as the first days saw both strong southern and blustery east winds off the lake, while the final week(s) experienced unseasonably warmer temperatures coupled with more southern-dominant wind patterns. The general trend for raptor counts this month was that most were either slightly, or well, below the 10-year (2012-2021) October averages. Notably, RED-TAILED HAWKS were approximately 41% below that average (5468) while NORTHERN GOSHAWKS were 61% below their monthly average (126). Both species historically experience their peak migration during the month of October on the ridge. It was the second consecutive October with only double-digit Northern Goshawk numbers – a trend not observed for well over a decade prior (since 2010). Red-tailed Hawk numbers peaked between October 17 and 20, with 45% of the monthly total passing the ridge during those four days alone. 

Rough-legged Hawk_dark_sub by S McLaughlin

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (64) numbers were dramatically lower than the monthly average (393), with only two double-digit count days logged throughout the entire month. Both MERLIN (61) and PEREGRINE FALCON (15) numbers were down this month, with the latter species only being observed half as frequently as the monthly average. BALD EAGLE (1279) numbers on the month were strong; however, still several hundred birds under the monthly average typically observed along the ridge during the month. However, both GOLDEN EAGLES (103) and NORTHERN HARRIERS (220) were well above their respective monthly averages, while AMERICAN KESTRELS (229) were consistent with their ten-average. One of the best Golden Eagle flights came on the second to last day of the month as 20 migrants (21 % of monthly total) were documented. 

Sharp-shinned Hawk by S McLaughlin Oct 22

SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS (5067) were also generally consistent with the long-term average (albeit slightly below), with the bulk of those birds passing in the first half of the month. COOPER’S HAWK (35) numbers were only down about 17% relative to their monthly average. Only a handful of BROAD-WINGED HAWKS (19) passed along the ridge throughout October, with the final bird of the month being observed on October 14; however, this is typical as most of this species passes through in September. In general, overall raptor counts were down this month relative to past years and this may be attributed to a combination of less favorable weather and wind patterns persisting throughout significant periods of that time. 

Red Crossbill by S McLaughlin Oct 22

October on the ridge experiences several interesting transitions in migratory non-raptor species as the last of the early migrants have pushed out of the northern forests paired with the arrival of later season species, like the winter finches and their allies. Of note this month included migrant PURPLE FINCHES showing a steady push along the ridge between October 7 and 17, averaging 286 birds/day over nine days (A total of 5062 passing over the month). The winter finch forecasts for this species had projected them to be on the move south in large numbers while exiting the eastern Canadian boreal forests and this push of birds along the ridge aligned with those predictions. EVENING GROSBEAKS have also been experiencing an irruptive fall in North America, arriving at various southern latitudes across the country, while the first few were observed along the ridge on 10/29 and 10/31 in small numbers (2 and 9, respectively). Migrant RED CROSSBILLS began to appear on counts later in the month, with small groups and individuals being documented mostly during the final week. 

Pine Grosbeak by S McLaughlin Oct 22 2

The first COMMON REDPOLL flew over the platform on the final day of the month coupled with the first PINE GROSBEAKS of the fall. On 10/05, a shift to more favorable northwest wind conditions, following days of stale southern and eastern wind patterns, brought a large movement of passerines along both the lakeshore and ridge. On this day, a strong push of BLUE JAYS broke the previous Hawk Ridge season record for this species set in 2021 (59,501). A total of 2562 Blue Jays would pass during the month, bolstering the record just a bit more. AMERICAN ROBINS (12,595) and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS (5201) comprised the remaining bulk of passerine movement on the month. 

American White Pelican by J Richardson

The last AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS of the month passed along the lakeshore on 10/20. Small groups of both migrant HERRING and RING-BILLED GULLS began appearing as birds leave their boreal forest breeding grounds. A late migrant COMMON NIGHTHAWK passed close along the ridge on 10/11. A mix of migrant waterbirds, including COMMON LOON, COMMON MERGANSER, MALLARD, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREATER SCAUP, and UNKNOWN AYTHYA SP. were observed flying down the ridge and towards the lake throughout the month. 

American Tree Sparrow by J Richardson

The first TRUMPETER/TUNDRA SWANS passed the ridge as early as 10/06 with smaller groups continuing throughout the month. The first push of migrant DARK-EYED JUNCOS (42) came on 10/05, while the first FOX SPARROW and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW visited the nearby feeders on 10/06 and 10/13, respectively, the first NORTHERN SHRIKE landed in nearby trees on October 17, and first SNOW BUNTING flock passed on October 20. Several BOREAL CHICKADEES (4) were observed on the ridge, as early as 10/07 and continued until the final day of the month, often fluttering only a few feet from the platform and across the road. 

Fall migration continues into the month of November at Hawk Ridge. Make sure to follow our full bird migration count in real-time HERE and our raptor count HERE until 11/30 to see what birds we are counting each day as they migrate south. 

Jess Cosentino

Fall Count Director

October Raptor Banding Summary

Adult dark Red-tailed Hawk

In the month of October, we saw beautiful weather with many days in the 60’s and 70’s, which is well above normal, with lots of southerly winds. The exception was a cold stretch Oct. 17-23, when we caught the majority of the Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Goshawks. Unfortunately, weather like this does not promote much raptor migration. However, we did manage to band raptors on 74 diurnal station days of running. The three stations were open on many days with help of staff and volunteers. 

A total of 308 diurnal raptors were banded with the following: 

Adult male Northern Harrier Gray Ghost Oct 22 3

Northern Harrier-8 

Sharp-shinned Hawk-219 

Cooper’s Hawk-7 

Northern Goshawk-24 

Red-tailed Hawk-38 

American Kestrel-2 


Peregrine Falcon-1 

Northern Shrike-1 

Northern Shrike Oct 22 2   Nice visit former banding trainee J Wilson and F Nicoletti 2    Adult Male Merline Oct 22 2

Banding Trainees Allie Bryce Emily with transmitter on Red-tailed Hawk

One current banding research initiative we’ve been working on is putting on transmitters of select species of raptors that we don’t have much information on with migratory movements. One of those species is the Red-tailed Hawk. We were able to deploy three units and we still have three more to hopefully deploy in November. Allie Pesano and Bryce Robinson, from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, are currently studying various aspect of Red-tails. We would to thank Bryce and Cellular Tracking Technologies for providing the transmitters.

Frank Nicoletti, Banding Director

Maggie Brown, Bander

Banding Trainees (Kara Beer, Hannah Landwerlen, Jadzia Rodriguez)

Banding Volunteers (David Alexander & Miranda Durbin)

1000th Owl Fall Season Oct 31 22 by L Rolls 2

October Owl Banding Summary

October was off to a booming start with a steady average of 50 Saw-whets a night. On October 6th we hit our second 100 owl night of the season with a total of 104 owls. As the month continued, we faced unusually warm weather and high wind days, which led to reduced migration activity and banding days. 

Throughout the month numbers of Long-eared owls trickled in. Our biggest night was October 30th, with a total of 13 owls. We wrapped up October with our first Great Horned Owl of the season, which was a gorgeous hatch year female weighing in at 1,484 grams. 

Great Horned Owl 2 Oct 22 by L Rolls 2   Great Horned Owl Oct 22 by L Rolls  Great Horned Owl October 22 by L Rolls

Our totals for October were 638 banded and 44 recap Saw-whets, which included 277 hatch year’s and 405 adults. We also had 41 banded and 2 recap Long-eared owls, which included 11 hatch years and 32 adults. Lastly, we had 3 hatch year Barred Owls for the month. This puts us at a season total at 1,012 owls banded, which is about 500 below Hawk Ridge’s season average. 

                 Reigning heavy weight champion Saw-whet Owl of season 119 grams ASY F by L Rolls        HY Male Northern Saw-whet Owl Oct 22 by L Rolls    

Long-eared Owls of Hawk Ridge Oct 22 by L Rolls

Unfortunately, numbers were lower for all species. A less successful breeding year, higher than average weather days, abnormally warm temps, and more nights than usual with easterly winds are all factors that could have played into these lower numbers. As we close out our fall season in November, we hope cooler temperatures will lead to one last push of Long-eared owls and potentially even a Boreal Owl. 

We would like to take a moment to thank all the volunteers, staff, and visitors for making this a great season. We hope to see familiar and new faces again next fall! Thank you!

Lesley Rolls

Fall Owl Bander


October Passerine Banding Summary

Every migration season seems to have similarities and patterns we expect, yet every one seems different as well. No exception for this year. We had a nice productive September, but October was predominantly ruled by winds and not so great banding weather. Despite the weather issues we were able to band 118 birds during 13 days in October- which is better than my mind remembers! Our total for the season was 1057 birds banded in 47 days with 58 species represented.

Margie Menzies w Banded Chickadee

We had 19 individual recaptures during the month of October with the vast majority of them Black-capped Chickadee, and Red-breasted Nuthatches. However, there is more to that story. 4 individual Chickadees birds accounted for 13 recaptures out of 21 Chickadee recaptures in October. In fact one particular bird was recaptured 5 times in the 13 days that we banded, not quite every day, but amazingly often! There were 8 individual Chickadees in the October recaps.

Golden-crowned Kinglet by Karl BardonIt was an unusual season with some of our typical late season arrivals all in exceptionally small numbers. The late season crowd often begins with Winter Wrens (we banded 4 this year), and Dark-eyed Juncos (only 14 Juncos), then moves on to White-crowned Sparrows (which were absent for us this year) and Fox Sparrows, and finally Tree Sparrows. We also had small numbers of Ruby-crowned (35) and Golden-crowned Kinglets (15) this year. We caught all of these birds but in much smaller numbers than normal. Weather was definitely a dominant player in the small numbers.

White-throated Sparrow by K Bardon

Our top ten species banded for the season saw 274 American Redstarts banded and occupying the number one slot, followed by number 2: Magnolia Warblers- 79, 3: Nashville Warblers- 66, 4: Tennessee Warblers- 57, 5: Swainson’s Thrushes- 51, Red-eyed Vireos- 38 and White-throated Sparrows- 38 tied for the 6th position, 7:Chestnut-sided Warblers- 35, 8: Least Flycatchers- 29, 9: Yellow-bellied Flycatchers- 24, and 10: Black-capped Chickadees- 20. 

But all of our efforts would be a mere fraction of what you see here if it weren’t for our amazing group of volunteer banders, net pickers, data scribes, and Hawk Ridge staff who also volunteer that make it possible for us to do this! Huge thanks to all of you, we couldn’t do it without all of you! Rest up over the winter and get ready to do it all over again when summer arrives and breeding bird MAPS banding gets going!!

Margie Menzies & David Alexander

Lead Passerine Banders

October Education Summary

Oct 22 snow at the Ridge

October is always a month of transitions, with this year no exception. It tested our winter readiness for a few days mid-month, and a few hardy visitors were able to see staff entertain themselves with snowball fights! In contrast, the end of October warmed up and felt like early September again for over a week providing all with a wonderful end to the education season. What would October be without great looks at our end of season migrators such as Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and the beginning of the Rough-legged Hawk movement, and even the occasional Goshawk! An unusual highlight for the month- saw no education group program rescheduling due to weather! 

Find your bird wingspan

During the month of October, we provided programming for 15 school groups and 5 Higher Education groups and 2 private groups. During the weekends, we offered 30 general public programs and enjoyed providing programming for Duluth Community Day at Hawk Ridge on Oct. 22 with more than 200 visitors stopping by through the course of the day, enjoying the migration, programs and bird demonstrations. And thanks to the efforts of the banders, we provided 57 bird demonstrations for programs and visitors to the overlook through the course of the month. 

Long-eared Owl by P Mundale Oct 22

O is for October and for Owls as well! Two general public owl programs brought out evening adventurers to learn about the Owls of Minnesota and experience the Ridge at night. But they were not the only ones WHOOO took advantage of Owl Programming. We also hosted 11 Small Group Owl Programs, with each hoping for the opportunity to learn more about these incredible nocturnal hunters up close and see the owl banding process up close (and they did!)! 

Fall Staff Costumes Oct 31 22

Thanks to our exceptional education staff, and our amazing volunteers! You can see we had a lot of fun this season just by looking at our staff costume photo on Oct. 31st - last day at the overlook! 

Education Trainee Chris with Kestrel Oct 22

All in all, it was a wonderful season as always, but education at Hawk Ridge never really ends- so keep your eyes open for program opportunities through the winter including an amazing trip to Costa Rica in the end of March (still a couple of spaces- click HERE for details), workshop and field trip opportunities, a winter/spring Master Naturalist class, and likely some online opportunities as well! March 1st with the start of our spring migration count will be here before you know it!

Margie Menzies

Education Director

October Volunteer Highlights

Hawk Ridge volunteers helping at kids cart 2022

This was another amazing year for our volunteer program! We had 20 new volunteers this year that joined our dedicated group of volunteers. Hawk Ridge volunteers gave over 1400 hours at Hawk Ridge, which is about 300 more hours than last year. Every year we have the privilege of working with volunteers and each year we gain new volunteers that enhance the experience for visitors to Hawk Ridge, as well as volunteers having an amazing experience themselves! While this season may have come to a close, we look forward to seeing our volunteers return next year as well as welcoming new volunteers!

Hawk Ridge hats embroidered by Peter

One of our new volunteers this season was Peter Mundale, who visited Hawk Ridge as a kid 10 years ago and is now a college student at Univ. of MN Duluth. He also shared his talent of embroidering favorite birds for Hawk Ridge staff on their hats! Peter shared this below about his experience volunteering with Hawk Ridge. 

Hawk Ridge Volunteer Peter Mundale 2012 to 2022 with Saw-whet Owl  2

"My experience this season as a Hawk Ridge Volunteer was incredible! I have been fascinated by birds, wildlife, and the outdoors for my entire life. My parents decided to take advantage of this fascination and bring my sister and me to this new place they heard of called Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. For four years we came up to Hawk Ridge to learn about the migration, and on one of our trips, we went to one of the Evening Owl Programs. At the program, we learned all about Owls, and I got the incredible experience to release a Northern Saw-whet Owl! Ten years later I started my first year at UMD, and now I was the one teaching people about migration as a Volunteer! It was an amazing experience to work alongside so many incredible people and continue to learn more and more! I also got the opportunity to recreate my picture with the Saw-whet as I learned about the research being done with Owls and as I can say now is where my future career will be. I can't wait for next season!"

We're grateful to all the Hawk Ridge volunteers! Thank you! 

Val Slocum

Volunteer Coordinator

Fall Raffle at the Ridge

Northern Harrier Oct 22

We held our annual fall raffle at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve this October with drawing on October 31st. Congratulations to the following raffle winners:  

1) Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 Binoculars (winner: Tony Drollinger, Stillwater, MN)

2) Guided Winter Birding Daytrip for 2 with Frank Nicoletti (winner: Gary Way, Minneapolis, MN)

3) $100 Gift Certificate for Merchandise from the Hawk Ridge gift shop (winner: LeeAnne Byers, Grantsburg, WI). Thank you to all that purchased tickets in support of our bird research and education programs at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory! 

Hawk Ridge 50th Anniversary Event & Festival Weekend- THANK YOU! 

Greysolon 50th

We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve and 50 years of raptor research & education 9/22-9/25/22. Thank you to all those that joined us and helped make it a special event. We kicked off the event with a wonderful celebration of past, present, and future at the beautiful Greysolon Ballroom with over 200 in attendance! On Friday evening, we enjoyed social and research poster session at the Great Lakes Aquarium with 18 posters shared by presenters on bird research in conjunction with Hawk Ridge. 

Janelle Long - Bob Rosenfield - Dave and Sarah Grosshuesch

On Saturday evening, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory held their annual meeting at the University of MN Duluth followed by a speaker panel on 50 years of Hawk Ridge Research. Dr. Robert Rosenfield was also presented with the Hawk Ridge Lifetime Achievement Award. Field trips and workshops were held throughout the weekend at local birding hotspots, as well as Hawk Ridge. 

50th Anniversary Festival

The festival weekend ended on an extra high note on Sunday with great weather, a fantastic bird migration, and Hawk Ridge friends to enjoy it with from near and far! You can also view our 50th anniversary video HERE today and we will continue to share more from the 50th event HERE. A big thank you to all of our sponsors, speakers, staff, field trip/workshop leaders, vendors, volunteers, participants, and supporters! 

50th Sponsors Web

Jessy and Great Horned Owl

P.S. Calling all Hawk Ridge Alumni - Where are you now? 

As we celebrate 50 years, we would love to hear from you! Please send an update to Janelle at on what year you were involved & position, photo of you at Hawk Ridge (or current), and what you're doing now! 

Thank You for Your Support!

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory thanks all of our supporters. We appreciate you! As a nonprofit organization, we are primarily funded by individual gifts to put our bird migration research and education programs in action. Below are some of the ways you can help us keep sharing the magic of the bird migration!

K Gilbertson J Long J Sanders Mt Royal Round Up Oct 2022

Community Round-Up

Thank you to Mount Royal Foods and Bent Paddle for their community round-up programs for Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. We appreciate the support and all those that rounded up this fall! Nearly $4500 was raised towards our bird research & education programs!  

Support Hawk Ridge by Shopping!


50th design platformIf you missed shopping at our Hawk Ridge Gift Shop trailer this fall, you can still purchase some of our merchandise online HERE. Our featured artist is Emma Regnier, who completed both the Bird Banding & Bird Migration Count Research Traineeships at Hawk Ridge in 2020 & 2021. She created 3 beautiful designs, including the popular "50th Anniversary" design pictured here. 


If you like to shop on Amazon, we'd also super appreciate you adding Hawk Ridge as a charity you support via Amazon SmileHawk Ridge Bird Observatory receives a donation of 0.5% of eligible purchases!.


Become A Member Today!


EE Trainee Fran with bird release 2If you're already a member of Hawk Ridge, we sincerely appreciate your support! THANK YOU! If you're not a member and have enjoyed your experience with Hawk Ridge, we invite you to renew or join as a Hawk Ridge member today! Our memberships and donations help drive our bird conservation research and education programs. You can check out our exciting membership benefits and join or renew online HERE!


Simply Donate


You can always simply donate online by clicking HERE or by mailing a check made out to Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, P.O. Box 3006, Duluth, MN 55803.

Thank you again for your wonderful gift of support! Hope to connect with you soon!  


Janelle Long
Executive Director
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
P.O. Box 3006
Duluth, MN 55803-3006
Call: 218-428-6209
501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization

Federal Tax ID 76-0746366