Two members of our Long-term Monitoring and Community Science team, Dave Oleyar and Jesse Watson, made the trip up to both of our Pacific Northwest sites in late August to prepare for the season. For Bonney Butte, set up was relatively easy, with just the wall tent and trapping arena needing to be put in place. That left Dave and Jesse plenty of time to get the crew up to speed and practice the skills they’ll be utilizing all season to make this research possible.
Now entering their third week of counting, the crew has counted over 400 raptors with some highlights being one Swainson’s Hawk and two Broad-winged Hawks. They’ve counted many through thick smoke at the site, making hawk watching quite challenging. The crew is very grateful for the days when the sky is clear and visibility is strong!
Another highlight has been the wildlife visitors in these early weeks. Recently, crew leader Cassidy Ruge spotted a Western Screech-owl at the observation site, looks like this little guy might have been interested in our interpretive sign (see image below). The crew was also lucky to come upon a Short-tailed Weasel chasing down a Ground Squirrel!
So just who are these crew members spending their days staring up into the sky? Let us introduce you to the Bonney Butte 2021 crew!
Cassidy Ruge, Crew Lead
Cassidy is returning for his 3rd hawk watching season with HWI and his 2nd season at Bonney Butte. When Cassidy is not counting for HWI, he is looking for birds whether it be doing point counts in Idaho or radio telemetry on the Oregon coast. Cassidy is looking forward to picking lots of huckleberries and sharing his love of raptors with visitors.
This will be Isaac’s first season with HWI. Originally coming from the east coast, he got his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont. Issac is a self-proclaimed “bird nerd” which means he is very excited to spend his fall camping and observing raptors in the Pacific Northwest.
Veronica is also new to HawkWatch International. She graduated from UC Davis’ wildlife and conservation program. She has worked with raptors before both as a volunteer for the California Raptor Center and as an intern for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. Veronica is most looking forward to the education and outreach with site visitors.
This will be Nora’s first migration season with HWI. She graduated from Colorado College in 2018 with a biology degree and has since worked a variety of natural resource and outdoor tourism jobs, from guiding whitewater rafting tours to setting prescribed fires to working as a biology field assistant. Nora was inspired to take on this opportunity after working with Spotted Owls in California this summer.
This is also Karl’s first season working with HawkWatch International. He graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in wildlife biology. Prior to joining the crew, Karl participated in bird surveys throughout the Great Basin and Mojave Deserts, in addition to leading backcountry horse pack trips in the Colorado mountains. Karl is most excited to live out in the wilderness and spend his days looking at birds.