Summer MAPS Bird Banding Project at Hawk Ridge
As we transition into summer, there is much to
reflect on. From the world pandemic to racial
justice and equality, momentous changes continue to unfold environmentally, socially, and economically. Learning about birds can
help us better understand ecosystems and the importance of interconnectedness and
diversity. How our actions have an impact on our environment is one of the
conservation messages we strive to educate about through our work at Hawk Ridge
Bird Observatory. It is not only important to us as an organization to foster a
safe learning environment that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable, but it’s
also good for the birds and humanity.
Spring Migration Count ended with a total of 19,217
raptors and over 13,000 other species (full report by Frank included
below). A big
thanks to our counters - Frank Nicoletti and John Richardson, as well as
volunteers, for upholding the migration research and managing it safely
these trying months. You can read more about what's ahead for the fall
season and other updates in this e-newsletter. Thanks for your support!
West Skyline Spring Count Summary 2020
By Frank Nicoletti, Spring Count Director
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory conducted the West Skyline Spring Count from February 29 through May 31, 2020. This is the third year of the 10-year, full-time consecutive spring count, thanks to a generous donation. The same protocol was used this season, as in past years with the use of two count sites depending of wind direction. The spring count data can be viewed real-time online during the season through the Dunkadoo database (via our website), as well as the raptor count on hawkcount.org. A summary and total of birds counted were also entered into the eBird database each day (WSHC--Thompson Hill & WSHC--Enger Tower).
A total of 19,217 raptors of 16 species
and 13,000+ other birds of over 100 species were counted during of 91 days out of 93 possible. The two days not covered
were due to inclement weather. A total of 574.5 hours were covered giving an
average of just over 6 hours per day. The hawk per day and hourly rate was 211
and 33, respectfully. This season’s total raptor count of 19,217 was the second
lowest of full-time coverage (14,992 recorded in 2009 was lowest) and is well
below the average of 26,000+. Most species were recorded in lower then normal
numbers with the exception of Peregrine Falcon, which established new daily and
It’s unclear at this point why the numbers were well below the 2000-2005 averages, which is currently the most complete set of data we can compare to. Certainly, weather patterns are somewhat to blame, as we had almost no southerly winds. Northerly winds prevailed, especially during the peak of Broad-winged Hawk migration. Broad-winged Hawk were almost 10,000 down, which would have brought our numbers up to the previous season totals. This was also seen on other Western Great Lakes counts, such as Whitefish Point and Brockway Mountain in MI. The species that have shown steady increases in fall counts, such as Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon, were also recorded in good numbers this spring.
Some of the highlights this spring were the following: 5 Swainson’s Hawk, one adult dark morph Broad-winged Hawk, adult light morph Harlan’s and adult Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk, were all special for sure. Also unique was the peak flight of Bald Eagle in May, which has always been in the month of March. We recorded 407 Bald Eagles on May 27, which is an impressive number anytime.
COVID-19 definitely had an impact on our visitation and
programs planned, including canceling our Spring Migration Celebration, but we
still had visitors (birders and general public) who came out to safely view the
spectacular migration. John Richardson did
a great job interpreting and teaching about the
spring migration to visitors and media, as well as helping conduct the
count. You can watch a great video feature on the Spring Count with John
HERE via "The Slice" on our local PBS station.
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory is excited to continue to gain knowledge about the spring migration through Duluth and how it compares to the fall counts. The West Skyline Spring Count has been a great addition for public outreach and continuing the education of raptor and bird conservation in the Western Great Lakes Region. We truly appreciate your support and hope to see you next spring!
I would to thanks Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and the special anonymous donor for making the West Skyline Spring Count possible. Thanks to John Richardson for educating vistors and helping with the count. Thanks to Dave Carman, Ralph Larsen, Ed Longhway, and John Edwards for their volunteer time at the count, as well as others who made it out to help in various ways. Thanks to Kate, my wife who continues to support me and my passion in life.
Hawk Ridge Fall Bird Migration 2020 - What's Ahead?
we look ahead to the fall migration season at Hawk Ridge
Nature Reserve, there is still much uncertainty with our funding
staffing, programs and events. The good news is that birds will continue
migrate, even though the experience may be different for us. The health
safety of staff, volunteers, members, and visitors will remain our top
priority. Due to COVID-19, one of the tough decisions we've made is to
cancel our Hawk
Weekend Festival (September 18-20). We hope to
implement other special ways to continue to celebrate the migration that
virtually and/or perhaps in smaller groups. With Hawk Ridge Nature
being an outdoor space, we plan for it to continue to be open this fall
to view and learn
about the migration. We are currently working with the City of Duluth on
these details and will keep you informed of what you’ll need to know
about visiting via
our e-news and website. We appreciate your understanding and look
forward to connecting with you again soon!
Hawk Ridge Diversity Initiative
Birding, nature, and outdoor activities have provided comfort and served as a safe space for many during these uncomfortable times. However, even these don’t come without inequities, such as experienced by Christian Cooper (black birder harassed in New York City's Central Park). You may have heard about Black Birders Week that evolved after the incident, which you can read more about HERE. Hawk Ridge acknowledges racial barriers and inequities faced within communities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We started a Diversity Initiative several years ago, as a first step to make our own organizational change. Taking action to promote professional training in the field and education opportunities were two of the priorities identified and have made progress with. We will continue to work on how we can do better in solidarity and support for BIPOC communities, especially with providing a safe and welcoming environment for birding.
Chalk Art at Hawk Ridge
you've visited the main overlook at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve in the
last few weeks, you likely came across the beautiful chalk art on the
road. Annmarie Geniusz, local artist and former Hawk Ridge Owl Bander,
created the chalk mural for Denver Colorado's Virtual Chalk Festival on
June 6th. The mural featured a bander and 3 Northern Saw-whet Owls,
which is most common owl we band during the fall season at Hawk Ridge.
Thanks Annmarie and we hope you have a chance to see more of her chalk
art around Duluth (and Hawk Ridge again!)!
Charitable Giving Incentives
the the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)
passed in March, there are increased tax incentives for charitable
giving. If you itemize your taxes, the AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) limit
for charitable cash contributions has increased from 60 percent to 100
percent deducted. IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions can also be
applied. If you don't itemize your taxes, the CARES Act allows for an
additional "above the line" deduction for up to $300 for cash gifts made
to charities, like Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Donors should consult
with their tax/legal advisor for questions on charitable giving
We love our visitors, but as everyone is aware, these are exceptional times for the safety of everyone with COVID-19. We encourage visitors at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve (on road and trails) to stay safe and keep others safe by following
physical and social distancing guidelines outdoors. The National Recreation and Park Association put together a statement HERE for safe use of parks and open spaces following guidelines set by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Hawk Weekend Festival - September 18-20th, 2020 (CANCELED)
Become A Member Today!
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!
2019 ANNUAL HIGHLIGHTS - Please click HERE to read and see how your support is helping us make a difference! Thank you!
Support Hawk Ridge by Shopping!
Purchase one of our unique artist-designed Hawk Ridge shirts or tote bags online. Two more simple ways to raise money for Hawk Ridge are by using 1) GoodShop and 2) Amazon Smile for your online shopping in support of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory to receive proceeds.
Thanks again for your support!
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
P.O. Box 3006
Duluth, MN 55803-3006
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