August 1st marked the start of the Corpus Christi count. So far, our crew has counted over 1,100 birds of 10 different species. Over 90% of those counted are Mississippi Kites and Swallow-tailed Kites. Don’t let these numbers fool you, by the end of the season, Broad-winged Hawks will make up 90% of the count at Corpus. The peak Broad-winged Hawk migration lands in late September, lining up perfectly with our 3-day long festival, the Celebration of Flight.
Let us introduce you to the people behind our 2022 count! This year we have three returning crew members and one new addition to the team. Keep reading to get to know the people who make this long-term monitoring effort possible!
Dane Ferrell, Crew Lead
Dane Ferrell was trapped in the business world and, while birding in the California wine country, discovered raptors and hawkwatching. After a morning spent watching a White-tailed Kite hunting, he became hooked on birds of prey. HWI took a chance on him, and now they can't get rid of him. In 2022, Dane will complete his 21st season observing for HWI, this being his 19th season counting at Corpus Christi HawkWatch. During the off-season, Dane works as a private birding guide and teaches children about nature.
Libby Even gained her love of nature and birding with her Aunt Libby in her teen years. She began volunteering at the Corpus Christi HawkWatch in 1999, a two-hour drive from her home. In 2006, she moved to Corpus Christi and was an HWI counter for the first time that fall. Libby continued to help the watch over the last years— providing full and part-time observing and coordinating assistance. Libby retired from her 40-year legal assisting career in July and is thrilled to return in 2022 as an HWI crew member.
Dane and Libby are excited to be able to once again hawkwatch together on the platform and, most of all, to celebrate their 10-year HawkWatch Wedding anniversary on September 22, 2022.
Daniel is coming back for his 5th season at the Corpus watch -- and he can't get enough! Daniel enjoys the incredible daily diversity of all birds, wildlife, and people the site attracts year after year. He's excited to jump back into the early season delights, often hoping for mixed kite kettles. His favorite raptor is the Ferruginous Hawk, and he is hoping to have an above-average year for them in South Texas.
Jamie comes to us from across the pond in England, although he has spent the last 12 years in the states. He has worked in various wildlife roles abroad, volunteering at wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers, and conservation projects in southern Africa (Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique) and South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Peru). Jamie continued volunteering in the states while acquiring his degree in Animal Behavior from Indiana University. Most recently, he worked for Mississippi State University administering point count surveys of illusive marsh birds to determine the extent of damage done to their populations by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. This is Jamie’s first hawkwatch.
If you want to learn more about our Corpus Christi HawkWatch, consider joining our Friends of Corpus Christi HawkWatch Facebook page. There you can speak directly with our counters and swap stories with the local community. If you are looking for up-to-date count numbers, click here.
This blog was written by Sammy Riccio, HWI's Donor Engagement Coordinator.
You can learn more about Sammy here.