We have been counting at Chelan Ridge HawkWatch since 1998, meaning this fall marks our 24th season! Our Chelan Ridge Crew Members have been counting for just over a week. So far, they have counted over 70 individuals of 12 different species. They recently banded their first falcon of the season—a beautiful male American Kestrel. Currently, Red-tailed Hawks make up the majority of this early flight, just over a quarter of the total birds counted.
Let us introduce you to folks who will be spending their fall up in Washington state. Although not new to fieldwork and hawkwatching, this crew is all new to HawkWatch International. Keep reading to meet the biologists who keep our site running.
Gary Palmer, Crew Lead
Gary is a passionate birder and educator with years of experience both in the classroom and the field. He has a BS in Biology and an MS in Post-Secondary Biology Education. Gary started his fieldwork career conducting breeding bird point counts for the Illinois Natural History Survey in 2016. Upon landing a position at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory in Michigan, he quickly developed a deep interest in visible migration. He has conducted migration counts at Tussey Mountain in Pennsylvania and Hawk Ridge in Minnesota, in addition to three seasons split between raptor and waterbird migration in his home state of Michigan. Gary’s favorite bird is his pet Quaker Parrot, Byrd, but Elegant Trogon, Northern Goshawk, and Mississippi Kite are in close competition for second place. When he's not counting birds, Gary can be found drinking coffee with his kitties, Bizhiw and Sisu.
Amanda Hancock, Banding Lead
Amanda Hancock is new to Hawkwatch International this year. Last fall, she spent her first raptor migration season with Raptor View Research Institute in Montana, which specializes in trapping and banding migratory Golden Eagles. Amanda has spent most of her adult life in Idaho, where she graduated from Boise State University and worked for multiple seasons as a technician for BSU's Raptor Research Center. Most recently, she worked as a seasonal field biologist for The Peregrine Fund in Puerto Rico. Amanda is looking forward to experiencing a new migration site with a new variety of species and teaching new crew members how to trap and band raptors safely. Her top three favorite raptors are Golden Eagles, Merlins, and Barn Owls because it's impossible to choose only one!
Skyler graduated from Northern Arizona University with degrees in Biology and Wildlife Management. He is looking forward to gaining trapping experience and familiarizing himself with all the different raptor species this season. Outside of counting migrating raptors, Skyler spends most of his time climbing or kayaking. His all-time favorite raptor is the Swallow-tailed Kite.
Jess is a Washington native who graduated from the University of Washington in 2022. She has previously worked with amphibians, conserving the Oregon Spotted Frog and managing invasive species. She has also done work with songbirds and collections management at the Burke Museum of Natural History. This is her first season working with raptors! Jess’ favorite raptor is a Rough-legged Hawk.
Moed received his degree at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in the Jason Weckstein lab studying endoparasites in Northern Saw-whet Owls. Those owls led him on a journey that included snakes, passerines, more owls, vultures, condors, small mammals, mesocarnivores, and wolves across three continents. Moed hopes to spend his career studying migration ecology, contaminant exposure, and trophic relationships between endangered birds and their native and non-native prey, hence his interest in HawkWatch International and raptor ecology.
If you want to chat with our Chelan Ridge crew, join our “Friends of Chelan Ridge HawkWatch” Facebook page. If you are looking for our most current counts or information on how to visit our sites, check out this page on our website.
This blog was written by Sammy Riccio, HWI's Donor Engagement Coordinator.
You can learn more about Sammy here.