Meet the 2024 Crew: Tubac HawkWatch

Welcome to the Tubac HawkWatch! This year marks HawkWatch International’s first year of running this spectacular spring site in southern Arizona, and we couldn’t be more excited about this addition to our migration network. Although the Tubac HawkWatch may be new to HWI, it is not a new site. Hawkwatching enthusiast and expert Peter Collins founded the Tubac count site back in 2013 and has been leading the count for over a decade. During this time, Peter and friends have counted over 25 thousand migrating raptors and built an annual festival that sees hundreds of visitors each year. It is an absolute honor that Peter has passed the baton to our team and trusted us with this count.

Adding the Tubac HawkWatch to HWI’s migration network is exciting for two reasons. First, it adds an incredible community of hawkwatchers, and second, we get to study species that we don’t count anywhere else in the network. We hope you will join us this spring to add some lifers to your list and meet our fantastic counters who make this essential research possible. Meet the folks who will count around 2,000 birds this season, including species such as the Common Black, Zone-tailed, and Gray Hawks!

Bob Baez

Bob grew up on the East Coast and finally got around to birdwatching in California in his thirties. He started counting hawks in Texas at Smith Point in 2008 and has kept at it, including the western mountains and a sprinkling of Great Lakes spring counts. The graceful flying Rough-legged Hawk is Bob’s favorite big bird, and he thinks any day with a Sharp-shinned is a good day. When not working, Bob enjoys walking, birdwatching, and reading. The Tubac site offers the challenge of catching the rhythm of a new site for him, a spring in the desert, and a chance to see some seldom or never-seen raptors at most other U.S. hawkwatches.

Harrison DuBois

Harrison is happy to return to HawkWatch International for a second season! He volunteered on the Manzano Mountains HawkWatch crew in 2022 before finishing his environmental engineering degree at Northeastern University in 2023. Since then, he has helped with aquatic ecology research in German and Turkish lakes, quite opposite environments to the sky above Arizona. This spring, he can’t wait to see some unique raptor species, meet all of Tubac’s great visitors, mountain bike in the Santa Ritas, and eat lots of tasty southwestern beans!

If you need help planning your trip or are curious about how the count is going throughout the season, join our “Friends of Tubac HawkWatch” Facebook group! There, you can chat directly with our crew and other bird nerds excited about the spring count.

You can also catch up with some of the HWI staff who will be visiting the site during the annual festival celebrating the Common Black Hawk peak. Join us on March 16th for a chance to meet the team, ask for hawkwatching tips, or save on shipping by shopping HWI merchandise in person! We’ll have a limited number of t-shirts on hand, as well as binocular straps, baseball caps, mugs, and our In-hand Guide to Diurnal Raptors. 

This blog was written by Sammy Riccio, our Communications Manager, as well the 2024 Tubac crewmembers. You can learn more about Sammy here.

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