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HMANA has lined up a great array of speakers across a wide variety of subjects.  Below you will find information on all of our presenters.

Keynote Speakers

Kate Davis

Raptors of the Rockies

Kate, who hails from Montana, will speak on “30 Years in Raptor Education” for the conference’s opening on Friday evening, October 12. She founded Raptors of the Rockies==her nonprofit educational organization, in Montana in 1988. Kate, who keeps 14 non-releasable and falconry birds at a facility at her home, has given more than 1670 programs to more than 131,000 people during those 30 years.  Her innovative and interactive multimedia approach to raptor education and resource conservation has won hearts and minds across the Rocky Mountain west and beyond. Kate is also past chair of the Education Committee for the Raptor Research Foundation (RRF) and chair of the Conference Committee for several recent RRF annual conferences.

Kate has also written and illustrated five books on raptors. Her Raptors of the West: Captured in Photographs, with Rob Palmer, won the National Outdoor Book award and Montana Book Award Grand Prize (2011). Her Falcons of North America is a superb introduction to our falcons. Bill Clark, well known field-guide author, wrote that this book is “a must for anyone who loves falcons and photos of them and wants to learn more about them.” This book was followed by the similarly well-written, superbly illustrated American Kestrel: Pint-sized Predator (2014) with outstanding photos by Kate and Rob Palmer, and then by Bald Eagle Nest: A Story of Survival in Photos. Her most recent book is Birds are People Too; Humor in the Avian World,” which shares her sense of humor along with insights into all birds.

To learn more about Kate, visit raptorsoftherockies.org where you can view her 8-min video talk on Communication in the Dark, starring Jillian the Great Horned Owl, and learn more about Raptors of the Rockies.

Kate received a degree in Zoology from the University of Montana in 1982.

Todd Katzner

U.S. Geological Survey

Todd Katzner will speak at the Saturday evening banquet on October 13, 2018, about “The Migration Ecology of Eastern North America’s Least Known Large Predator–The Golden Eagle.” Todd’s keynote will reveal how little the eastern Golden Eagle was known or understood both conventionally and scientifically. For those who attended the 2010 HMANA Conference in Duluth, we learned something rather surprising about Golden Eagles in Minnesota—how little we actually knew. Todd’s research, including telemetry, helps us better understand the eastern Golden Eagle and its migration ecology, including new insights into the relationship between Golden Eagle migration behavior and the potential threats of wind turbines.

Todd is a research wildlife biologist at the Snake River Field Station of the U.S. Geological Survey in Boise, Idaho, with more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of ecology and conservation biology. His recent work focuses on understanding and mitigating threats from renewable energy to soaring birds of prey throughout North America. Todd also has an international research program focusing on raptors in central Asia – particularly on the ecology and conservation of eagles in the Republic of Kazakhstan; has more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications; and is a co-editor and author of the book The Eagle Watchers. He is also a co-founder of the innovative wildlife telemetry company Cellular Tracking Technologies, LLC. (Of interest to anyone into truly long-distance migratory raptors, his research also includes the Red-footed Falcon!)

Featured Presenters

Rob Bierregaard

Board of Directors, Raptor Research Foundation

Rob Bierregaard

Rob Bierregaard

Rob Bierregaard is the director of National Audubon’s Hog Island Nature Camp’s “Raptor Rapture” session and on the Board of Directors of the Raptor Research Foundation.  For the past 18 years his work has focused on satellite-tracking studies of Osprey migration and long term monitoring of Osprey populations in southern New England.  He is the author of Belle’s Journey, An Osprey Takes Flight (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2018).

Bill Clark

Chairman, Raptours’ Board of Advisors

Photo Credit: Patty Waits Beasley

Bill Clark is the Chairman of Raptours’ Board of Advisors for which he leads or co-leads raptor tours abroad. He is also on the board of several national and international raptor institutes and foundations. He has published more than 140 journal articles and papers in conference proceedings and is the author or co-author of several raptor field guides, including two for North America (Hawks of North America and A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors, both with Brian Wheeler), one for Europe (A Field Guide to the Raptors of Europe, The Middle East, and North Africa), one for Latin America (Raptors of Mexico and Central America), and is currently completing one for Africa.

Dr. David Bird


David Bird

David Bird

David M. Bird recently retired as an Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Biology and Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and is now living on Vancouver Island. Dr. Bird has published almost 200 peer-reviewed papers, mostly on birds of prey, and supervised 50 graduate students.  He has taught several university-level courses, including ornithology, wildlife conservation, ecotourism, ethology, and scientific communication. He has written and/or edited no less than ten books, the most recent ones being Birds of Canada, 2nd Edition in 2017 and Pocket Birds of Canada in 2016. Dr. Bird is a past-president of the Raptor Research Foundation Inc. and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists; an elected Fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union and the International Ornithological Union, and a member of the Board of Directors of Bird Studies Canada.  He writes regular bimonthly columns on birds for Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine and Canadian Wildlife magazine.  In 2017, the Society of Canadian Ornithologists gave him the Doris Spiers Award for outstanding lifetime contributions to Canadian ornithology.

Conference Presenters

Trudy Battaly

Trudy is on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Hawk Watch Association and the editor for the NorthEast Hawk Watch Hawk Migration Report. She is the coordinator of Hook Mountain Hawk Watch, NY and a counter at the Fire Island Hawk Watch, NY.  Trudy researches Northern Saw-whet Owls in Southeastern NY. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at Westchester Community College and teaches mathematics.

She is a member of the League of Naturalists at Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park.

Dave Oleyar

Dave Oleyar is the Senior Scientist at HawkWatch International and oversees the operation of HWI’s network of western migration monitoring sites.  He represents HWI on the RPI steering committee and also leads studies of American Kestrels and small Forest Owls in the western US.  Dave studied Flammulated Owl ecology while earning a MS in Raptor Biology from Boise State University, and did his doctoral work at the University of Washington on the impacts of urbanization on songbird populations and communities.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin has coordinated state T&E raptor recovery projects at NH Audubon since 1990.  Working in partnership with NH Fish & Game Nongame Program staff, and other natural resource agencies and NGOs, he supervises an enthusiastic corps of volunteer nest monitors.  During his tenure in NH, peregrines have been down-listed, and ospreys and bald eagles have come off the state’s T&E List.

Terry Whittam

Terry Whittam is a citizen scientist with over 50 years of birding experience in Ontario, having started at the age of 13. Terry’s lifetime ornithological focus has been studying Golden-winged and Blue-winged warbler expansion through Ontario.  For the last 10 years, Terry has dedicated his time to the Rosetta McClain Raptor watch, observing the yearly trends in raptor migration along the Scarborough bluffs over Lake Ontario.  Typically 6,000 to 8,000 raptors and all 15 Ontario species are identified every fall at the raptor watch.  When the raptors are having a “slow day”, Terry also tags monarch butterflies on their migration to Mexico.  In the fall of 2017 Terry introduced the use of a tablet and “Dunkadoo” software to record daily raptor observations.  Terry has visited numerous other raptor watches in Ontario and NY state and the Veracruz Mexico “river of raptors” site is on his “bucket list”!

Nick Bolgiano

Nick Bolgiano is a hawk watcher and data analyst. He is co-author of Birds of Central Pennsylvania and has written about trends in many bird species, including Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and American Kestrels, with a common theme being how humans affect the landscape and, consequently, bird densities.

Heather Good

Heather is the executive director of Michigan Audubon. She has a background in project management, nonprofit administration, environmental education, and raptor rehabilitation. Her favorite hawk is the Harris’s Hawk.

Tom Reed

 Tom is a HMANA board member and co-editor of the American Birding Association’s Journal of North American Birds. He works on various projects for New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory. 

Janice Sweet

Janice is a stay-at-home army wife and mother. Nineteen years ago, she founded the Illinois Beach State Park Hawkwatch along with Vic Berardi and her son, Paul. She is site “mom” and keeper of the data.

Drew Panko

Drew is the co-founder, coordinator and counter at the Fire Island Hawk Watch in NY and is a Director on the Board of the Northeast Hawk Watch Association. He is also a columnist for the NEHW Hawk Migration Report. Drew researches Northern Saw-whet Owls in Southeastern NY. He is a retired teacher of physics and chemistry at Roosevelt High School, Yonkers, NY. He is a member of the League of Naturalists at Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park.

Erin Brown

Erin is the Director of Education at HMS since 2014. She develops, directs, coordinates and implements the Hawk Mountain education program, including curriculum and program development, evaluation and strategic planning, and oversees the education internship program as well as the professional and volunteer educators and raptor handlers.  She also coordinates school group visits to the Sanctuary, weekend programs and other educational programming, and works to strategically grow Hawk Mountain’s role as a global leader in raptor education.

Nora Hanke

Nora is a mid-life career changer, seeking to enter the conservation field this year after completing a graduate degree in Environmental Studies (Conservation Biology) at Antioch University New England. She has been participating with avian citizen science projects for about 10 years. Nora founded and conducts a Winter Raptor Survey in Western Massachusetts. She also surveys a mountainside in New Hampshire for high elevation songbirds for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ Mountain Birdwatch, and is one of a small, hardy core of winter back country Christmas Bird Counters in New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch area. Her prior work was in medicine.

Rebecca McCabe

Rebecca is a PhD student at McGill University (Montréal, Canada) examining the winter movements, habitat use, and survival of GPS-GSM tagged irruptive Snowy Owls (in collaboration with Project SNOWstorm and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary).

For her Master’s (from East Stroudsburg University ’16) she studied the nesting behavior of Broad-winged Hawks in eastern Pennsylvania. She has continued as a collaborator on the Broadwing project attaching satellite transmitters, following up with nesting pairs, and analyzing migration data. The last two springs she has participated in the Pennsylvania Goshawk Project, searching and conducting broadcast surveys.

Rebecca has volunteered at the Little Gap Banding Station, banding migrating raptors and examining ectoparasite load and the microbial communities of louse flies found on migrating raptor species. She became a certified PA Master Naturalist volunteer in 2014, in addition to completing the Hawk Mountain International Traineeship program in the spring of 2014.

Jerry Jourdan

Jerry has been birding since 1980 when, as an undergraduate at UM-Dearborn, he took a field biology class and became hooked on birds; since then he’s had a passion for photographing them. In 2003 he discovered the art of digiscoping—photographing birds with a spotting scope and digital camera. In 2007 he started blogging to record his observations and provide a narrative of his experiences. Check out his birding and digiscoping adventures at jerryjourdan.blogspot.com and jerryjourdan2.blogspot.com. He is a member of the American Birding Association, Erie Shores Birding Association, Black Swamp Observatory, Whitefish Point Observatory, and is serving on the Detroit River Hawk Watch Advisory Committee focusing on web content and public relations.

Susan Stewart

 Susan is a retired Forest Service research social scientist who moved from Chicago to northern Michigan in 2012, and now works in her family’s marina business. Her involvement with Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch began in 2016, and in 2017 she volunteered one day a week to help with the volunteer fall migration count.  Susan finds data collection almost as compelling as raptor migration.

Brian M. Wargo

Brian M. Wargo is a hawkwatcher at the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch, president of the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society, author of “Bird!”: An Exploration of Hawkwatching, and a director for the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Wargo serves as co-chair for the Education and Conservation committee as well as the Data committee for HMANA, and is the Eastern Flyway editor for Hawk Migration Studies. Wargo holds a master’s degree in physics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in science education from the University of Pittsburgh.

Will Weber

Will is vice-chair of HMANA and has been a member since 1976. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He was a Peace Corps Volunteer, teacher and trainer in Nepal from 1971-75 and received a Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Michigan.  He founded and directed JOURNEYS International—an adventure, nature and eco- travel company—and has led more than 100 active tours to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. He helped establish the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory and was instrumental in the establishment of Hawkcount and the Raptor Population Index. His current interests include ecological restoration and understanding how birds cope with climate change.

Kirsten Fuller

Kirsten holds a bachelors in biology and a bachelors in secondary education from Rowan University.  She has worked at the Cape May Bird Observatory, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Peregrine Fund, and she currently works as a field technician with the Institute for Bird Populations.  Through her experiences with these organizations she has become passionate about raptor research and education and plans to continue workings towards a career that combines both of these passions. This fall she will be working for Hawkwatch International and in the future plans to attend graduate school to study raptors.

Zoey Greenburg

Zoey Greenberg has her Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic. Her studies in science writing, oceanography, and bird migration led her to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary where she completed training programs in both education and conservation science. Her work at the mountain has focused primarily on black and turkey vultures, including the development of a middle school curriculum on black vultures, and the investigation of various roost sites adjacent to the the sanctuary. She intends to continue spreading the word about vultures and participating in raptor field work whenever possible. She is currently the outreach and science coordinator for a whale-watching company out of San Juan Island, WA where she serves as a marine naturalist and develops data collection protocols for several boats engaged in ecotourism.

Gerard Troost

Gerard Troost is the founder of Trektellen.org, the main platform to collect, store and share all types of migrations counts in Europe. Trektellen started in 2003 as a sharing platform for migration counts of watchpoints where Gerard’s is active himself but it is nowadays used by 100’s of sites from the Middle East to North America. Trektellen is a hobby project almost without any funding so next to the Trektellen work, Gerard is a software engineer at Sovon, the  Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology. Sovon is an association with a staff of about 60 people who coordinates the monitoring of wild bird populations in the Netherlands and carries out research on the ecology and demography of bird populations. The focus of his work at Sovon is the development of tools to collect bird monitoring data like territory mapping of breeding birds or surveys of waterbirds. The sites and apps he developed are used by 100s of professional birdwatchers and 1000s of volunteers.

Josh Haas

Josh Haas first developed a love for hawks working with the birds of prey at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. A hawkwatching trip to Lake Erie Metropark opened his eyes to hawks in migration. Perplexed by seeing specks at a distance with an overwhelming itch to know what they were, he started learning from veteran hawk watchers and was hooked. He would end up spending seven Fall seasons working with the Detroit River Hawkwatch as a relief counter. There he honed his skills and developed a love for teaching visitors unique ways of telling the shadowy specs apart. This, combined with his experience in bird photography and videography took his teaching to a new level.

His goal of making hawks accessible to everyone has spawned his movie “Hawks on the Wing” teaching viewers hawks in flight through the use of video and audio commentary. This innovative new way of educating birders is gaining popularity and stands to be a great teaching tool/technique for hawkwatch sites throughout North America. Josh’s work can be seen on-line at www.hawksonthewing.com, in several birding apps along with publications all over Michigan.

Russell Conard

Russell Conard has been a leading developer of new technologies to bridge the gap between ecology research and computer science since 2007. He has developed an expertise in engineering solutions to manage and analyze biological data in the cloud with a specialization in applying artificial intelligence to remote wildlife sensing. He is the President and Head of Research & Development for Dunkadoo, a non-profit he cofounded to provide enterprise data management tools to meet the diverse and changing demands of field biologists. Dunkadoo’s mobile applications and cloud management tools are used around the world, and their unique technologies allow
migration data to be streamed and visualized online in real-time. At Cellular Tracking Technologies, he builds solutions to help biologists find actionable insights in the big data collected by the company’s cutting-edge telemetry devices. He was previously the founder and CEO of Specteo, a mobile data management company that provided a global platform for managing fieldwork in the cloud, and his research has earned him a place on Forbes Magazine’s list of “30 Under 30.”

Gerry Wykes

Gerry Wykes is an “award-winning” freelance author and illustrator, and a veteran Interpreter with a 32 year career with the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. As director of the Lake Erie Marshlands Museum, at the site of the Detroit River Hawk Migration route, he founded the long-running autumn “Hawkfest” to focus on this world-significant natural event.

Bob Pettit

A nearly lifelong birder who gained his love for spotting and counting from his mother and ornithologist father, Flat Rock resident Bob Pettit has a zeal for aviary pursuits that consistently keep his eyes toward the sky. Bob is Biology Professor Emeritus at Monroe County Community College. He has led and participated in bird counts, many through the Erie Shores Birding Association, an organization he helped found in the mid-’80s. A volunteer board member of several bird and raptor organizations for more than 30 years, Bob is a former chair of Whitefish Point Bird Observatory and the Hawk Migration Association of North America and former president of the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory and its Hawk Migration co-chair. He enjoys teaching the fine points of hawk identification and finds great satisfaction when those who have attended his presentations ignite the spark of birding in others. For Bob, it’s not about racking up a list of species. It’s about camaraderie and giving a little something back.

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