Saturday, December 28, 2019

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Completes 85 Years Of Migration Count Data; Update On Other Projects

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County completed its Autumn 2019 count on December 15, and along with the close of the decade, they celebrated contributing to 85 years of raptor migration count data.
Volunteer Matt Wlasniewski braved wind gusts of over 20 mph, cloudy skies, and 40-degree temperatures from the counter’s pit to count 19 bald eagles as they passed over North Lookout on their way to warmer weather. 
He also noted 9 red-tails and a single sharp-shinned hawk. Our strong numbers on closing day indicate that there is still a chance to see close eagles, red-tails, and goshawks on days with strong northwest winds.
Within just days of the count finale, Hawk Mountain was bathed in a sheet of ice, a jarring reminder that winter is at our door.
Even though this year’s count was the lowest in the last ten years, the Sanctuary is looking forward to starting a new decade in 2020 – one in which we can all strive to create a healthy planet for humans and raptors.  Click Here for more on the 2019 count.
Fmr Trainee Shares African Experience
Merlyn Nomusa Nkomo, former Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Conservation Science Trainee, shares her ongoing work in Africa, monitoring and tagging vultures. 
Through Hawk Mountain’s Project SOAR grant, Merlyn was able to conduct research on critically endangered Cape and white-backed vultures on Debshan Ranch in Zimbabwe’s Midlands province with a small group of colleagues.  Click Here for more.
Re-Defining Raptors
Hawk Mountain scientist Jean-Francois Therrien has collaborated with The Peregrine fund on a recently published peer reviewed paper titled “Commentary: Defining Raptors and Birds of Prey.”
The paper, published in the Journal of Raptor Research, presents an updated standard definition for the term “raptor” and also determines that two South American species, the seriemas, may technically be raptors.  Click Here for more.
Arctic-Wide Contributions
Kolguyev Island, a Russian island located in the south-eastern Barents Sea, is an arctic field station where Visiting Hawk Mountain Scientist Olga Kulikova conducted research on arctic species for five years and regularly filled out a questionnaire, creating a database of observations. 
Olga has also visited and worked at four other arctic field stations similar to this one, contributing similar data. This standardized questionnaire has been the inspiration for her current study, which will shed light on the highly disputed topic of predator and prey peak fluctuation in the arctic. Click Here for more.
Changing Chickadees
Changing chickadee songs might not raise an eyebrow for most people, but to ornithologists, this is indicative of a slew of other factors. 
Dr. Robert Curry, a professor of biology at Villanova University, is studying black-capped, Carolina, and hybrid chickadees while completing a research semester that has included time at Hawk Mountain’s Acopian Center for Conservation Learning. Click Here for more.
Click Here to support Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website or call 610-756-6961.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Sanctuary, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, visit them on Flickr and visit their YouTube ChannelClick Here to support Hawk Mountain.

(Reprinted from the latest Moving Mountains newsletter from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.)
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[Posted: December 28, 2019]

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