Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monitoring Count Traineeship a Great Success!

The Hawk Ridge count team: Alex Lamoreaux, counter; Karl Bardon, count director and Kaija Gahm, count trainee

When Hawk Ridge Observatory was awarded HMANA’s 2015 Hawk Watch Fund to fund a migration monitoring “count” traineeship, we were excited to hear more about it.

Well it’s mid-season and it seems the position has been wildly successful so far. This year’s count trainee, Kaija Gahm, Kaija is an enthusiastic and accomplished young woman who is taking a "gap year" between high school and going off to college at Yale. Among her other accomplishments, she has been a participant in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology "Young Birders Event"; she has won the Massachusetts (overall & Wildlife categories) and national (Wildlife category) Envirothon; and she has been an active participant in E-bird and the Massachusetts Audubon Bird-a-thon for several years throughout high school.

Kaija has been involved in some fantastic days of counting at Hawk Ridge, including a day of 90,000+ songbirds on September 1. Karen Stubenvoll, Hawk Ridge Board Chair is thrilled with Kaija. “It has really enhanced our count by having her here, and we are so happy to be training the next generation.”

The goal of the count traineeship is to provide a unique, hands-on, professional training opportunity for those interested in learning the skills to conduct migration monitoring research. The trainee learns identification of birds by both sight and sound for raptors and non-raptors, data collection, data entry, public relations with visitors, and other valuable research tools.   

Here is a video clip of Kaija in action with hawk counter Alex Lamoreaux from the Duluth News Tribune.
The duty of a counter at Hawk Ridge: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/video/4480074064001

Kaija scanning the sky for raptors at Hawk Ridge
Hearing this story makes us very happy at HMANA. This is what the Hawk Watch Fund is all about! We offer grants each year to watch sites in the HawkCount.org monitoring network with the purpose of providing grants to assist watch sites looking for support whether it’s educational materials and displays, construction and maintenance of viewing platforms, hiring hawk watchers, or purchase of equipment. Funding comes from proceeds of HMANA’s annual spring Raptorthon and from direct donations to the Fund.

Sites may apply from December 1-February 15 and awards are chosen April 1. For more information on how to apply, please visit www.hmana.org

All photos by Karen Stubenvoll

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