This past week two HWI staff members, Jordan Herman and Steve Slater, along with Steve’s son Forest, helped the Commissary crew set up camp for the fall season. The morning of the 26th, staff and crew met up in Kemmerer to set up the PO Box and gather some food and water. From there, they were off to the ridge to set up camp. First priority was the “mess tent.” This is the space where the crew will do their cooking and hang out by the stove when the infamous Commissary chill comes in. Solar panels and batteries for tablets were installed so our crew can submit their daily counts online. Last but not least, the blind was brought up to the ridge and assembled so the crew could start off Friday morning ready to count and band.
The team started the first day strong, coming in with a total of 87 birds. We are wondering if this fall will be heavy on Swainson’s Hawks, as they showed the strongest turnout with 67 individuals. Another exciting spot was a Ferruginous Hawk—which the site usually only spots 7 individuals the whole season! You can keep up with the Commissary Ridge count here: https://dunkadoo.org/explore/hawkwatch-international/commissary-ridge-fall-2021
The 2021 season was able to start so smoothly thanks to our two returning crew members: Cody and James. A huge shout out to them for all of their wisdom and help. Who are Cody, James, and the rest of the Commissary Ridge crew? Let us make the introductions!
Cody Allen, Crew Lead
Cody is returning for his third year at Commissary Ridge. Cody has worked with many kinds of birds but hopes to build a career around raptor conservation. His advice for those coming to visit the ridge? “Bring layers and prayers, it gets mighty cold up here!”
James is a HawkWatch International veteran, returning for his 5th year counting and his third year at Commissary Ridge. James has also counted at the Corpus Christi and Grand Canyon HawkWatch.
This is Coburn Blunt’s first season at a HawkWatch International migration site. He has been working seasonal field jobs since graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2019. This will be his first time handling and banding raptors, but he has worked with birds in the past ranging from sparrows to grouse.
Frankie Vierela (she/her) is also a first-time hawk watcher. Frankie has experience in wildlife rehabilitation from her role as Avian Clinic Technician at the Avian Conservation Center in Awendaw, SC. She also has fieldwork experience studying California Spotted Owls.
Georgia is another new addition to the team. Georgia recently graduated from the University of Washington and is excited to get started on her ornithology career. Before joining the Commissary crew, Georgia worked with Common Ravens in Yellowstone National Park and Burrowing Owls in Oregon.