Take Part this Spring! Any time March 1-May 31, 2017
Be part of a continental effort to support raptor conservation, monitoring programs and your local watch site
Simply choose one day (or a 24-hour period) to count between March 1-May 31, 2017 (We recommend mid April!) then register with HMANA, find sponsors to pledge support for your Raptorthon, go out and find as many species as possible, collect your pledges and report your results. HMANA will allocate your proceeds according to your wishes (up to 50% to your favorite hawk watch) and publish results in the Hawk Migration Studies journal.
You can base your Raptorthon on a Winter Raptor Survey, A Big Sit (from a hawkwatch or favorite location) or a mobile Birdathon, in which you visit many sites. Feel free to combine your count with another activity, such as an educational or public event at your hawk watch. You can take part as an individual or form a team. Customize your Raptorthon in whatever way suits you best! Raptorthon is an educational and outreach project and a great way to introduce your friends to raptors.
Individuals or groups participating in Raptorthon on behalf of a Hawk Watch Site, and contributing net proceeds of at least $75 to HMANA and/or the Hawk Watch Fund will be eligible to sponsor their site’s pages on HawkCount, as a Raptorthon team. See www.hawkcount.org for more information. (And, of course, you and/or your hawkwatch organization are welcome to sponsor your site’s pages on HawkCount, regardless of whether or not you take part in Raptorthon).
2017 Featured Raptorthoners – Dr. Wargo & the Eaglets Team
Brian M. Wargo is a science educator who teaches graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh and high school students at the Freedom Area School District in PA. He founded Freedom Area’s Naturalist Club in 2015 with the explicit goal of engaging young people in naturalistic research. Since its inception, students meet weekly for presentations, bird walks, lessons on naturalism, and a host of other activities. Because Wargo is a hawkcounter at Allegheny Front Hawk Watch, a board member for the Hawk Migration Association of North America, and the Eastern Flyway editor for Hawk Migration Studies, he is preoccupied with hawks. He is constantly examining raptor data, writing about hawks (he is the author of “Bird!: An Exploration of Hawkwatching), taking and sharing pictures of hawks, talking to his students about hawks, or just watching hawks for pleasure. He is currently working with the education committee to increase engagement among young people with hawkwatching. His team consists of four other members, all students at Freedom Area High School. They are listed below:
Brianna McKee, a very good hawkwatcher, was the first president of the Naturalist Club. At the time, she was just a sophomore, but she helped to build the club by regularly presenting at the weekly meetings, which often included her impressive photos of hawks. This fall, she will be attending the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) to study biomedical engineering. This is good news, because she will be near the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch. Hopefully, she can get other UPJ students interested in hawkwatching as she has done at Freedom.
Peyton Zankel is the currently the president of the Naturalist Club and is an avid birder. Peyton is torn between studying physics and ornithology. Regardless, Peyton has been crunching bird data in hopes of answering a lingering question at the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch: Do east winds produce more raptors than other winds? Her research project will hopefully be presented to the Hawk Migration Association of North America at a future meeting.
Breanna Leasure has presented several times at the naturalist club and is currently working on a long-term project of making a paddle wheel wind-turbine. Her goal is to determine how to increase efficiency of this design, thereby reducing the risk of raptor collisions. Breanna is considering a career in either life sciences or the medical field. With any luck, she will head towards something along the lines of raptor research.
Kayla Carpenter is a regular at the Naturalist Club meetings and has presented on the life of Jane Goodall. She has banded owls and spotted raptors at the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch and is an excellent addition to the team.
Dr. Wargo and the Eaglets will begin counting raptors Friday evening, April 14th at Shawnee State Park. They will then move to Allegheny Front Hawk Watch on Saturday for a full day of counting on April 15, 2017. The team hopes to see a variety of raptors, but understands predicting raptors is difficult. If raptors are flying, the team is ready, for they have been studying Jerry Liguori’s Hawks from Every Angle and Hawks at a Distance (Jerry was last year’s featured Raptorthoner).
2017 Raptorthon Prizes!
First prize: Information coming soon!
Second prize: A signed copy of Dr. Brian Wargo’s book “Bird! An Exploration of Hawkwatching”
Third prize: HMANA Raptor Silhouette T-Shirt and HMANA Cap
All participants will be eligible to enter a draw for one or more prizes…… To be eligible for the draw: (1) Officially register to take part in Raptorthon and (2) raise at least $25 and send the money you raised to HMANA by July 1, 2017.
Each participant who raises at least $25 will be entered for one chance in the draw. Participants who raise at least $100 will receive an additional chance for each $100 raised. (e.g. If you raised $100, you will get 2 chances; if you raised $500 you will get 6 chances.) Only one prize will be awarded per participant.
HMANA Board and Staff Members WILL BE eligible to be entered in the draw The draw will be held in July. One or more independent witnesses will supervise the draw to ensure that it is carried out fairly. And once again, all registered participants will receive a free Raptorthon T-shirt when they register.
What is a Raptorthon? Like Birdathon, Raptorthon is a sponsored Bird Count, but is focused on Raptors. It’s a fun event organized by The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) in which you ask sponsors for a pledge to sponsor you for a day searching for as many raptors species (and optionally other species) as possible.
What happens to the money I raise during the Raptorthon? All money raised will support raptor monitoring but you decide how it’s distributed. You have the choice to donate 50% of the money you raise to a hawkwatch organization and 50% to HMANA to support its HawkCount database, Raptor Population Index project, and raptor conservation efforts. Or you can choose to donate 25% to another conservation organization of your choice and 75% to HMANA, or you can donate 100% to HMANA. HMANA’s proceeds above the standard 50% will be allocated to our new HawkWatchFund to support hawk watching throughout North and Central America.
Do I need to be an experienced hawkwatcher to take part in HMANA’s Raptorthon? What if I don’t know my raptor species that well? You don’t need to be an experienced hawkwatcher. The purpose of the Raptorthon is to get out and have fun for the day searching for raptors and other birds and raise money for raptors. To benefit from others’ experience, form your own team or contact your local hawkwatching site for information about joining a team. Or go it alone and do your best.
Do I have to count only hawks during my Raptorthon? No, this is totally up to you! You decide. You may choose to count the number of raptor species you see or hear in one day (including owls and shrikes) or you may choose to count all bird species you see in one day.
Do I have to count raptors for a full day? What are the dates of the event? This year’s spring Raptorthon is for a 24 hour period. You decide which day between March 1-May 31 that you would like to do your Raptorthon. Look for raptors and other birds for any number of hours up to 24! You decide the time and date for your Raptorthon. Just remember to fill in the date on your registration form.
Do I have to do the Raptorthon at a known hawkwatch site? No! You can be anywhere at all when you do your Raptorthon. Count from your backyard or tour the local hawkwatches and birding hotspots.
How do I register to take part in the Raptorthon? You can register online or print the Registration Form at www.hmana.org/raptorthon/. Fill this form out and email or mail to Julie Brown, 151 Antrim Rd, Hancock, NH 03449. Don’t forget to sign up for a free Raptorthon T-shirt for you and your team members on your registration form!
What other forms do I need? In addition to the Registration Form, you’ll need the Pledge Coupon to solicit pledges. You will send this form to your potential sponsors for their pledges. How to Find Sponsors contains helpful tips in reaching out to sponsors. Next you will need the Sponsor List to track donations from your sponsors which will later be mailed to HMANA with checks. All forms are available at www.hmana.org/raptorthon/.