Ridgetop Rachel and the Wing Watchers
(Saturday, March 30 (Rain date Sunday March 31) I will begin my Raptorthon by warming up my binoculars along the Kittatinny Ridge at Little Gap via road survey to Lehigh Gap following the ridge to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary with my adopted little canine sister Luna and then focus my day counting at North Lookout with the support of HMS staff and volunteers. This Raptorthon will allow me to explore and survey 30 miles of the Kittatinny Ridge through Carbon, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks and Schuylkill counties – an important migration corridor for raptors, monarchs and even dragonflies!
I am excited to participate as HMANA’s featured Raptorthoner because it’s a unique opportunity for me to share my passion for hawkwatching with my community of friends, family and neighbors. Growing up between Little and Lehigh Gaps along the Kittatinny Ridge provided an ideal childhood playground for observing nature and as a professional educator and citizen of planet earth, I want to invite folks to engage in the spectacular avian acrobatics above us.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was founded in 1934 to protect birds of prey. Although raptors are protected from direct persecution today, they face many ecological challenges such as habitat loss, overuse and misuse of chemicals and beyond. My personal mission statement is “FLY FORWARD” and learn as much as possible about these feathered bio indicators of the health of our shared ecosystems. Similarly, HMANA serves as a network providing a big picture forecast of population trends. It’s important for me to support raptor conservation research that impacts us all. All funds raised will be split 50/50 between the these two organizations. Join me on Saturday 30 March and help spot birds to raise money for HMANA and HMS!