Friday, September 18, 2009

Energy is in the Air

I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be on a crisp mid-September day than on a north-facing mountaintop in New England, enjoying the splendor of broadwing migration and looking down as the deep reds of swamp maple unfold across the landscape. Sure, I enjoy those late October days-scanning the frozen skyline for red-shoulders and goshawks but I love the energy in the air surrounding broadwing season. I love the way it brings people together, I love the anticipation, the thrill of spotting that huge kettle, and the tingle you get from watching each one soar overhead, wondering what it will experience over the next few weeks and where it will spend the winter.

And aside from what draws us out onto these cliffs and ridges - witnessing this ancient annual ritual - there is the simple pleasure of just watching that slow transition from shades of greens to rich yellows, oranges and reds. In my opinion, there is no better way to spend the autumn and feel connected to the natural world.

My name is Julie Tilden and I am the Monitoring Site Coordinator for HMANA. My position was created to allow HMANA the ability to communicate and reach out to many migration monitoring sites across North America. I started this position just one year ago and it has been a great fit for me-given my background in raptor research and conservation, love of hawkwatching and passion for birds. I also serve as Site Coordinator for the Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory here in Peterborough, NH.

I will be posting occasionally here on Hawk Migration Notes, bringing you some interesting observations related to fall raptor migration.

In this post, I want to take this opportunity to share some recent info about an event currently taking place across the continent: Raptorthon! And we want you to take part!
This is a new HMANA fundraiser and a fun way to support the hawkwatch network and help to raise the profile of hawkwatching, locally, nationally and internationally.

Anyone can participate. I invite you to take part-either on your own or as part of a team. This is an opportunity for you to help pioneer an exciting event and help raise funds to support HMANA’s raptor conservation and monitoring programs and to support your local hawkwatch.

*I’m forming a hawkwatch team here at Pack Monadnock, where we will try to count as many golden eagles as we can before November 1st (a rare and special visitor to southern New Hampshire). It’s a fun challenge and boosts our motivation when we know the funds raised will go towards raptor conservation at HMANA and our own local hawkwatch here.

How does it work? During the fall migration season, from September 1 to November 30: (1) Choose your count options: your watch site, your day or days to participate; whether you will count as an individual or organize a watch site team; and which species you will count - all species or particular “signature” species or families; (2) Register with HMANA and assign a percentage of your proceeds to a watch site or other conservation organization; (3) Find sponsors to pledge a flat rate or an amount proportional to your count; (4) Do your Raptorthon – and, as always, enjoy identifying and counting as many hawks as possible; (5) Report to your sponsors and collect your pledges; (6) Send the money to HMANA; (7) HMANA will issue receipts to sponsors and distribute the money you assigned to a watchsite or conservation organization.

If you are interested in learning more, all information and downloadable forms are available at:

HMANA’s goal for the 2009 is to involve as many hawkwatches and hawkwatchers as possible and start to build Raptorthon into a significant national and international event. So join in the fun…there’s still time!

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