Text and photos by Magill Schumm
Hello all and welcome to the Chelan Ridge HawkWatch blog for the 2017 migration season! It has been an exciting start to the season for newbies and seasoned crew members alike. We began the count on August 25th and commenced trapping on the first of September. Even with several days of low bird traffic and reduced visibility due to the Uno Peak fire, we have counted over 250 birds and banded more than 50. We also have a number of resident birds that check in with us on a regular basis including at least two Sharp-shinned Hawks and a Red-tailed Hawk.
For a number of us, banding and holding a Northern Harrier was a first. Their owl-like facial disk makes for a unique looking bird. We’ve been lucky enough to catch four young males already.
In addition to hard-core biology and bird stuff, we’ve begun to settle in and make the mountain our home. With the help of some of our U.S. Forest Service friends and parnters, we erected our wonderful yurt. This splendid structure is where we stumble to make coffee every morning, collapse at the end of a long day, and take turns composing gourmet meals. Everything made in this yurt tastes like it could be found in a Michelin Star restaurant – yet another example of the magic of Chelan.
To finish off this inaugural post, here is some information about us:
Alma Schrage is new to HawkWatch and Chelan Ridge. She brings high-volume banding experience from her time at Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory. She graduated three years ago and at the time didn’t know for sure if she would be able to get positions in fieldwork as a profoundly deaf biologist. But the past three years have happily proved her wrong. She comes to HawkWatch with multiple seasons under her belt, including three summers in the Sierras doing bird and pollinator work, as well as mammal and herp work experience in the Mojave and Wild Horse deserts and curatorial work at two natural history museums. She is also an illustrator and has already started documenting her HawkWatch experience in drawings. Stay tuned!
Alyssa Davidge Ally is a Certified Associate Wildlife Biologist with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State University. She has been working with raptors for six years including Spotted Owls and California Condors. She brings a sharp eye and lots of banding/handling experience to the crew. When she isn’t working, she is playing roller derby and rock climbing with Sage, her best buddy.
Sage Davidge is the official camp dog. She has had all sorts of adventures with her human, Ally, but this job has by far offered the highest quality laps to sit on. She is the crew’s full time counter – spending every day on obs. Her duties include chipmunk hunting, running, and napping in the sun. When she isn’t working she enjoys going for walks and eating oatmeal laced dog food.
Magill Schumm is a 2016 graduate of St. Olaf College. She is far from her home in Iowa City, IA, and is loving her mountainous adventure out west. Her experience with birds comes from an internship at the Minnesota Zoo, a field technician position working on an Osprey hacking project near Springfield, IL, and an internship at the education and research-based Iowa Raptor Project. In her free time she enjoys board games, hiking, cooking, and dog spotting.
Maycee Hash has been involved with wildlife education as a raptor handler at her local wildlife rehabilitation facility in Humboldt County, CA throughout most of her youth. Since graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2015, she has been deepening her understanding of wildlife conservation and research design protocols by assisting as a field technician for several projects, including a spotted owl and goshawk telemetry study, leading a field crew on a cattle ranch in Texas, and roaming the Sierra Nevadas to catch songbirds and bumblebees. A mountain goblin at heart, she is avidly enjoying her experience trapping and counting the raptors passing over the ridge. Outside of raptors, she is titillated by spiders and chickens.
TC Walker thinks he’s pretty neat, but not as neat as hawks! This is his third season here at Chelan and he is stoked to be back spreading the magic of fall migration with the local community and his many friends made here up on the ridge. TC is looking forward to sharing more about himself and the wonderful birds we encounter here over the fall. He spends his time here helping those intrepid enough to brave the chilling wind and winding roads to fall passionately in love with these magnificent beasts, changing lives one sharpie at a time.
Now that you know us, come to Chelan Ridge and visit us!