On a 2017 motorcycle trip, the slow way from Salt Lake City to McCall, ID, we kept seeing various raptors along dirt roads in far Northern/Southern Idaho. They became our “spirit” animals watching us while we rode. And then 6 months later I met Goose at the Utah Museum of Natural History and she introduced me to HawkWatch. That led to Kestrel nest box monitoring with my family as citizen scientists.
Across that journey, I’ve realized that raptors sit atop their food chains and are broad indicators of ecosystem health, so the application of leading science to their fortunes gives us concrete signals to inform our human actions towards conservation — the proverbial "canary in the coal mine”; maybe we should update that saying to be “raptor above the environment.” Additionally, the opportunity for young and old to come face-to-face with such amazing ambassadors of nature cannot but help all of us think just a little bit more of the natural world and our increasingly detrimental impacts to it.
I’m super enthusiastic to be part of the HawkWatch International Board of Trustees to support our organization’s efforts for science, conservation, and to join other representatives that are looking out for these inspirational animals! And I hope that you’ll find ways to join us.