2019 HMANA Research Grant Award Recipients

Establishing A Raptor Migration Count And Conservation Initiative In Columbia

HMANA Grant: $1000

 

Esther Viviana Vallejo Santamaria, a past conservation science trainee at Hawk Mountain, PA, plans to share all the raptor knowledge she learned at home in Columbia, establishing a raptor migration monitoring program coupled with public outreach and raptor conservation.

Her project aims to collect vital migration data on southbound raptor migrants and to empower the community through science, education, and conservation by following the example of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s mission.

Esther is establishing two sites strategically situated across the country. The first site is in Urabá (Antioquía) in northwest Colombia. It has the advantage of being located where Central American migrants enter South America and may count birds heading further south or east into northern South America. This first point of entry into Colombia is strategic for data collection, where the kettles remain grouped before dispersing throughout the continent. An observatory will allow researchers to obtain information about the migration patterns that species adapt and the effect the Andes have on their migration routes. It will also provide essential data on population trends and migration patterns for long-distance migrants such as the Swainson’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, western Turkey Vulture, and Mississippi Kite.

The second more southerly site in Ibagué (Tolima) in the western part of the Andes is a binding site for education and conservation, as thousands of Swainson’s Hawks and Broad-winged Hawks have been shot in this region. More conservation efforts and migration research are critically needed there. By counting the raptors and attracting visitors, they hope to educate the local community about the importance of protecting the raptors.

HMANA is thrilled to support such an important project, as there are currently no other active monitoring sites in South America. The project hopes to strengthen conservation efforts in the local communities and better understand the routes and stopovers by North American species passing through northern South America.

In addition to HMANA, the project receives support from the Universidad del Valle, Cocora Foundation, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and others. HMANA funding will directly support the training of local counters, the purchase of equipment, and the production of educational materials.

 

Spring Eagle Watch Project At Camp Baker, Montana

HMANA Grant: $500

 

Adam Richardson, the lead raptor migration observer for the Camp Baker, Montana Eagle Watch Project, will start counting at this new site in the spring of 2020. The Camp Baker site is located within Smith River State Park, 25 miles northwest of White Sulphur Springs, MT.

This project, which is affiliated with the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society, intends to contribute to the understanding of spring raptor migration, emphasizing Golden and Bald Eagles in western Montana. If this project can be sustained long-term, it will potentially enhance our knowledge of raptor population status and trends. It may serve as a critical barometer of overall ecosystem health and human-caused environmental changes, including climate change.

Based on preliminary spring raptor counts conducted at Camp Baker, MT, it is estimated that this site may yield seasonal count totals of between 1,000 and 2,000 migrant raptors, with approximately half or more being eagles. The Camp Baker Eagle Watch Project is designed to determine total migrant raptor numbers and the seasonal timing of passage of the birds and assess raptor flight paths (or overall breadth of the raptor migration flight lines). This information will help determine how difficult it will be to conduct a consistent, standardized count of the raptor migration annually at this location.

HMANA is thrilled to support a spring site focused on eagle migration in a region that needs more raptor monitoring.

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