Hawkwatch International employees and volunteers maintain observation sites for raptors during peak migration months. One site is in the Goshute Nevada mountains and provides a breathtaking view of the organization's work. By gathering years of data about migrating raptors who depend on the integrety of environments over thousands of miles of migration, Hawkwatch International has developed a data base that is a remarkable window into the health of our world. Important decisions such as development of wind power may be guided by this information for better outcomes for our raptors and their habitat.
Great group of people, highly engaged with passion for the work they do. That passion makes the work easier and more fulfilling.
I was a a volunteer for HawkWatch (HWI) over twenty years ago and continued to follow the organization after I no longer volunteer on a regular basis. I was a member for part of that time. When I had the opportunity to serve HWI again as a board member, I was excited to reconnect with the organization. The best part of HWI is the passion for birds of prey and for environmental protection that is shared by staff, volunteers, and supporters alike. In the last three years HWI has honed its mission and has begun to take what it knows about birds of prey and apply not only to their conservation and but also to the conservation of the ecosystems in which they reside. Based on current leadership, staff composition, and a board that is more engaged than it has historically been, I see a very bright future for the organization.
I have always loved raptors, and it is my pleasure to be a part of this organization. I offer the board expertise in fundraising, and i have planned my first house party in May. I find the staff honest, experienced and professional. Hawkwatch is also fiscally responsible which is very important.
HawkWatch was wonderful to work with. They provided patient, in-depth training for their methods of bird banding and data collection and then were appreciative of my efforts. I spent 2 months on the mountain at the Goshutes banding site in the 1994 season. After that I received more training in bird handling and identification and then led several field trips for bird watching. HawkWatch provides a careful and thorough collection of data on raptor migration and population health, and shares it with professionals. Raptors provide a uniquely enticing opportunity to introduce people to the wonder of nature and the need to care for it. HawkWatch does a marvelous job of involving the general public in the conservation of natural resources in general and raptors in particular.
After donating to this worthy organization, I purchased educational books for my grandchildren. The books were fun and very interesting to them. It helped us on some outings to identify some raptors.
Years ago, the local power company worked with Hawkwatch International to identify which power poles were being most used by raptors, so they could put perch guards where they would prevent the most electrocutions of hawks and owls. I was a volunteer gathering the evidence along certain lines. I learned just how frequently hawks use power poles and just how deadly the lines can be. I liked the partnership idea with the power company. Years later, I know much more about HawkWatch as I am now on the Board. They are clear about their vision, and they manage their resources well.
As a new member of the Texas Master Naturalist in fall of 2005, I came across the HWI website. I realized they did hawkwatches at the Texas coast. I was so impressed with their mission and goals, that every year since then our Alamo Area Chapter of the TMN approves an activity to go learn and assist the counters. It is so popular with our volunteers that many stay for 2 - 3 days, learning and assisting the official counters. When they return to San Antonio with stories of seeing over 20,000 raptors at one time, that only inspires more members to understand the importance of protecting this species and their habitats.
I participated in a field trip to HWI's Goshute Mountain Raptor Migration Site. It was a strenuous hike, but definitely worth it. The crew were extremely dedicated and knowledgeable, they took the time to show how everything works at the site, from observation and counting to banding and releasing. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
HawkWatch has provided unique educational opportunities for my fifth grade students. I teach fifth grade in a Utah public school. Our classes are crowded (I have 32 students this year) and we have limited resources. Fifth grade is also a transitional grade for kids. Their interests and priorities shift dramatically. They began to have emotional, personal and academic problems. Many of my students don’t like school. It’s hard to teach these kids. HawkWatch’s education Director, Jenn Hajj offers educational programs about raptors and our environment. She traveled to our school to teach our challenging students. She brought a live red-tailed hawk. She also brought her guitar. She sang creative songs teaching about raptors and their ecosystems. She taught the kids about what scientists and volunteers at HawkWatch do (collecting data from different places about various species of birds). She explained why this data needs to be collected and what HawkWatch does with it. She even brought in calipers and rulers with cardstock photographs of raptors as models. This was for the kids to get some hands-on experiences using measurement and collecting data. My class was engaged. They actually experienced the importance of making accurate metric measurements. They loved having HawkWatch teach them. They were finally able to see a real connection with science, math, and reading. They made statements like, “Oh, this is why we need to make graphs.” This lesson made an impression on my students. They are still singing Jenn’s “Raptor Bird” song. Our introduction to HawkWatch was also a bridge to other learning opportunities. We were introduced to two live nest web cameras. One is for bald eagles, the other is for barn owls. My students have loved learning about these birds and watching them from our classroom. We observed them hatching, eating, growing, moving, and last year we watched one fledge. HawkWatch is a wonderful non-profit organization for schools.