The Project Staff
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary biologists and collaborators will begin work in April 2014 when the Broad-winged Hawk returns from South America. Introducing the Broad-winged Hawk Project crew:
Dr. Laurie J. Goodrich, Senior Monitoring Biologist at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary will co-direct and coordinate field work. Laurie will lead donor communications and reports, help analyze data, and provide public outreach throughout the migration journey. Laurie has observed migrating Broad-winged Hawks in Pennsylvania and Mexico for more than 25 years. Together with our collaborators and donors, she looks forward to uncovering answers to the many mysteries of broadwing migration. Laurie conducted independent Ph.D. research on Sharp-shinned Hawks a decade ago and is seen above releasing a radio-tagged bird.
Dr. Keith L. Bildstein, Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at Hawk Mountain, will co-direct with Laurie. Keith is the author of Migrating Raptors of The World: Their Ecology and Conservation published by Cornell Press (2006) and a world-renown raptor biologist recognized by scientists for his leadership in raptor migration study. He directs long-term studies on migration ecology and conservation of vultures and caracaras around the world, including a long-term study of Striated Caracaras in the Falkland Islands. He is seen above tagging one of his study birds.
David Barber, Research Biologist and GIS Analyst at Hawk Mountain will place the telemetry units on birds, archive and manage the migration data, and work with others to produce maps of the migration for donors and on the internet. David once counted 7,000 Broadwings passing over Hawk Mountain. He has marked and studied migration in Turkey and Black Vultures throughout North America and assists with studies of Striated Caracaras in Falkland Islands and vultures elsewhere.
Rebecca McCabe, a Hawk Mountain Graduate Student, will conduct the bulk of field work and data analyses assisted by Keith and Laurie. She will oversee a team of student volunteers from nearby universities in nest searching and observations, and compile findings and weekly reports for donors and for use in her Master's thesis. Rebecca spent last summer observing a Broad-winged Hawk nest at Hawk Mountain and is 'hooked' on learning more about these secretive hawks.
The Broad-winged Hawk nests in large, unbroken forests of eastern and central North America. Each autumn they vacate North America and travel thousands of miles to winter in Central and South America. Although highly secretive and rarely seen during nesting, broadwings are conspicuous on
migration, forming impressively large
flocks, numbering thousands of birds. Nearly the entire world's population will pass through eastern Mexico and Central America on their way to southern wintering areas, and all concentrated into a two-week period.
Because of this amazing concentration and the many different cultures and landscapes they encounter during their journey, broadwings are face multiple threats during migration and on the wintering grounds, including shooting, deforestation, and contaminants. Moreover, despite the abundance of data on migration numbers recorded by hawkwatchers in North America, very little is known about their habitat use, migration, wintering and nesting behavior, and their conservation threats. Such data are critical to the long-term conservation of this iconic migrant and its migration spectacle.
The Broad-winged Hawk Project has three main goals:
- Identify Broad-winged Hawk migration routes and migration behavior in autumn and spring, identify the stop-over and over-wintering sites, overall range, and habitat used during winter.
- Compare nesting behavior, migration patterns and timing of birds from within the same nest and from nests of the same region, including departure and arrival times, distance traveled daily, migration routes, and wintering region.
- With data gathered, publish and publicize results, work with government officials, local residents, and conservation organizations across the regions used by the birds to protect critical migration and wintering habitats.
Hawk Mountain also intends to use the project as a tool to educate
the public on the value and beauty of Broad-winged Hawks and other
We need to learn more about the Broad-winged Hawk and its ecology during the breeding, migration and wintering periods in order to protect this secretive yet common woodland raptor, and to conserve its amazing migration for future generations. Hawk Mountain follows the guiding principal of its founder Rosalie Edge, who stated: "The time to save a species is while it is still common."
Guided by this philosophy, biologists can protect species *before* a population declines and to avert conservation emergencies--which ultimately become difficult and costly to remedy.
The Broad-winged Hawk currently nests throughout northeast and northcentral forests, but faces threats and challenges throughout its life cycle and may be in decline in some regions. By expanding our understanding of this amazing long-distance migrant, we can ensure it continues to fill the skies each autumn and spring.
Project Schedule and Plan:
May through July 2014: Locate two nesting pairs of Broad-winged Hawks in or near Hawk Mountain and conduct daily observations.
July: Trap the young birds and affix light-weight telemetry units on each juvenile to track movements after they leave the nest.
August through November: Track four or more juvenile Broad-winged Hawks as they migrate south through North America, Mexico, Central America and possibly South America. Routes and locations will be mapped online and shared with schools and donors.
Winter 2014-2015: The wintering range of each bird will be mapped, and in spring we will follow birds as they return north, assessing where they choose to spend their first winter. Transmitters may last several years so data will be collected and analyzed as long as possible.
What We Need & What You Get
Funding for this project would support tagging two juvenile Broad-winged Hawks from one nest, the associated data download fees, and cost of field support and supplies. Two additional Broad-winged Hawks will be tagged using funds already provided by a private donor. If additional funds are located we may tag as many as six juveniles from three nests allowing us to compare behavior between siblings and among nests from same region.
GSM-GPS satellite tracking units...................$4,000 each x 2 = $8,000
Satellite tracking data downloads...................$1,200 each x 2 = $2,400
GIS Analyst time migration/winter...................$500/month x 3 = $1,500
Field Assistant stipend...............................$600.00/month x 2 = $1,200
Field Supplies (trapping, blind, etc.).........................................= $1,100
Travel (0.40/mile x 1000)........................................................= $ 800
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a non-profit organization with a mission of conserving raptors worldwide. Every dollar donated to this project will directly support this exciting investigation. Hawk Mountain will support the project by providing housing and graduate student stipend, office support, and covering project co-director's salaries.
Supporting a great cause is rewarding on its own, but who doesn't love supporting a cause that provides great perks?!? We have created several project sponsorship levels, all with donor benefits in thanks for their generous contribution. From visits to the world-famous Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, to naming a bird and following it through its life cycle, there are opportunities for everyone. Check out the "Select a perk" section on the right-hand side of the page for a full listing of donor levels and benefits.
If the project goal of $15,000 is not met, all funds will be applied to cover project costs and other field supplies, although less birds may be marked.
Although the Broad-winged Hawk can be observed by the thousands during their migration, little is known about their ecology and conservation needs. As deforestation continues throughout its range and other potential threats heighten, it is important we understand more about its biology and ecology throughout its life cycle.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is well-suited to successfully implement this exciting project. We are a non-profit organization with a mission of conserving raptors worldwide and an 80-year history of successful wildlife conservation and outreach (see www.hawkmountain.org). We manage 2,500 acres of Appalachian forest and host education programs for 70,000 visitors annually. Our successful international conservation science trainee program boasts more than 300 graduates across the world, who in turn offer global collaboration for the outreach component of this project. We have former trainees in nearly every country traversed by broadwings. In the past decade, we have tracked Black and Turkey Vultures across similar landscapes and shared data through online and print publications.
Other Ways You Can Help
Help us reach our goal by sharing this link with friends, family and fellow conservationists or bird lovers! Help us to spread the word!