2021 Conference Speakers

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Ken Meyer obtained his B.S. degree in Zoology from the University of Maine, Orono, in 1977; and his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1987. Until 1996, he studied imperiled birds as a post-doctoral and then research associate in the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and as a research biologist with the National Park Service. Since 1996, he has served as an adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Ken co-founded Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) in Gainesville, Florida, in 1997. Since then, he has held the positions of Senior Research Ecologist and Executive Director at ARCI. In the course of conducting over 40 years of field research and producing management and conservation plans, Meyer and his team have studied the behavior and ecology of 16 species of birds of conservation concern that nest in the United States, including during the time they spend elsewhere in North, Central, and South America. In 2002, and again in 2014, Ken received a Partners in Flight National Research Award for studying the conservation biology of species at risk; and in 2005, a National Wildlife Stewardship Award from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for cooperative studies of Swallow-tailed Kites.

Dave Brinker has worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources since 1990 and is now a Regional Ecologist with the Natural Heritage Program working on biodiversity conservation. His work focuses on colonial nesting waterbirds, obligate marsh nesting birds, raptors, freshwater mussels, and odonates. Dave has a long history of interest in raptors that started with bird banding in 1975 at the Little Suamico Ornithological Station, a raptor migration observation and banding station near Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he observed and banded his first Northern Goshawks. At Little Suamico, he helped document the 1982 Goshawk irruptive flight along the shore of Green Bay. In 1986 Dave started banding migrant Northern Saw-whet Owls at Finzel Swamp in western Maryland and then in 1991 at Assateague Island. This interest evolved into Project Owlnet, a continent-wide collaborative network of migrant owl banding stations. Dave’s fascination with Northern Goshawks and the ten-year wildlife cycle began in Wisconsin shortly after obtaining his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1977. After moving east, he began working on Goshawks nesting in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. This passion grew into the Central Appalachian Goshawk Project that monitors Goshawk territory tenacity, adult survival, and reproductive success at nest sites in West Virginia, Maryland, and the Alleghany National Forest northwest Pennsylvania. Dave is a founding co-director of Project Snowstorm, a collaborative effort to understand better the wintering ecology of Snowy Owls and a principal in the Northeast Motus Collaboration.

Dave Oleyar is the Director of Long-term Monitoring and Community Science at HawkWatch International. He leads research programs on raptor migration, American Kestrel conservation, urban raptor ecology, and forest owl ecology. Dave holds an undergraduate in Biology from Baylor University in Texas. He first started working with cavity adapting species while helping with Dr. Fred Gehlbach’s long-term work on rural and suburban Eastern Screech-owls. He earned his MS in Raptor Biology from Boise State University, where he studied the impacts of ski-area development associated with the 2002 Winter Olympics on Flammulated Owls nesting in northern Utah. Dave’s doctorate at the University of Washington focused on urbanization impacts on songbird populations and communities. Serving on the RPI steering committee since joining HawkWatch International in 2014, Dave is excited to share the most recent findings from this partnership between HMANA, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Birds Canada, and HawkWatch International.

Dr. Alejandro Onrubia. Valladolid, Spain (1966). Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of León (Spain), with the thesis “Spatio-temporal patterns of soaring-bird migration through the Strait of Gibraltar.” Thirty years professionally involved in various works and projects related to nature conservation and wildlife management, linked to the University of Cantabria, Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Protection, Spanish Ornithological Society, and the University of León. Fourteen years of experience in environmental consulting in northern Spain and fifteen years in Migres Foundation. Expert in capturing and marking wild fauna; 35 years as expert bird bander accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Environment. A scientific diver since 1990. Attendance at 120 national and international courses, congresses, and conferences related to nature conservation, with 150 talks and seminars in various masters, lectures, conferences, and congresses. More than 190 publications in scientific journals with more than 500 citations. Since 2006 Onrubia works as a technician for the Migres Foundation and is currently the coordinator of the Migres program to monitor bird migration through the Strait of Gibraltar.

Matias Juhant has been conducting fieldwork and studying raptors in different South American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay) for the past seventeen years. Through these years of collecting data, he has focused on understanding the molt pattern and plumage sequence, seasonal abundances and wintering congregations, and agonistic interactions within and among age classes. Additionally, as part of his Ph.D. project, he collects morphological measurements on specimens housed in museums to test the validity of three main ecogeographic rules (Bergmann, Allen, and Gloger rules) Geranoaetus. Currently, he is in the third year of his Ph.D. “Ecomorphology, geographic variation, and taxonomy in avian predators of the genus Geranoaetus (Aves: Accipitridae)” at the Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del Noroeste Argentino, Argentina under the supervision of Dr. Juan Ignacio Areta. He is committed to following an academic career and become a Neotropical raptor biologist. He has earned a BSc in Biology at the University of Maribor, Slovenia, and an MSc in Biology at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands. Additionally, he has been collaborating with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary for the past fourteen years, where today he is a research associate of this prestigious institution.

Ryan Phillips has been conducting wildlife research since an early age, and his passion for wildlife science has continued to grow. Ryan has been teaching at De Anza College in the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies since 2008 as an Adjunct Instructor. Besides teaching, Ryan is a Wildlife Biologist for the City of Mountain View and Talon Ecological Research Group. Ryan received his Bachelor of Science in Wildlife, Conservation Biology and Fisheries with a specialization in Ornithology from the University of California at Davis and is currently finishing his Graduate research at San Jose State University. He has spent over 15 years conducting raptor research in Belize. From 2004-2006, he lived in Belize as a Field Biologist for The Peregrine Fund on the Harpy Eagle Restoration Project to restore a population and study the ecology of post-release captive-bred eagles. During that time, he also monitored nests of the rare Orange-breasted Falcon. Ryan was the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Belize Raptor Research Institute, now the Belize Bird Conservancy, which he is currently the Belize Hawk Watch Director. In 2013, Ryan started the first Hawk Watch Program in Belize, and he and his colleagues conducted the first studies on rare Neotropical species such as the Solitary Eagle. In California, he has been a significant effort to manage and conserve the declining Burrowing Owl in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also trapped and banded raptors at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory as part of their long-term research program.

Dr. Nat Seavy is the Director of Migration Science for the Migratory Bird Initiative with the National Audubon Society. In this position, Nat works with the Audubon Science Team to use the wealth of scientific knowledge about bird migration to engage people in the joy of migration and help them take action to protect the places that matter most across the Americas. He received his master’s in zoology from the University of Florida in 2001 and his Ph.D. from the same department in 2006. Nat’s research has contributed to developing solutions that integrate bird conservation with climate change, forest and wildfire management, river restoration, wildlife-friendly agriculture, and water management.

Dr. Brooke Bateman is the Director of Climate Science at the National Audubon Society and works to develop research focused on climate and the conservation of birds and the places they need today and in the future. In this role, she led a team of scientists in developing Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink, Audubon’s 2019 Birds, and Climate Change Report. As director of Climate Watch, she works with community volunteers to understand how climate change currently affects North American birds. Brooke received her Ph.D. in Zoology and Tropical Ecology at James Cook University in Australia in 2010. Her research focuses on spatial ecology and conservation, emphasizing the effect that climate change has on biodiversity. Brooke also works closely with on-the-ground practitioners and stakeholders to link climate research to on-the-ground conservation and management actions.

Therrien grew up in Sherbrooke (Canada), about 30 minutes from the Vermont border. He has earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Université de Sherbrooke (2003), a master’s degree in biology from Université Laval, Canada (2006), and a Ph.D. degree in biology from Université Laval, Canada (2011). Therrien has served as a Senior Scientist at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary since 2011, working on various aspects of raptor conservation science such as satellite tracking of Peregrine Falcons, Turkey Vultures, and Snowy Owls; monitoring American Kestrel breeding populations, and monitoring North American migratory raptors passing over the Sanctuary.

Neil Paprocki received his M.Sc. in Raptor Biology from Boise State University in 2013, where he studied how climate and habitat influence long-term trends and distributions of wintering raptors in North America. From 2014–2018, Neil served as the Conservation Biologist for HawkWatch International, where his passion and devotion to migratory raptors flourished. Neil is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Idaho studying differential migration in Rough-legged Hawks and other avian species.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hired Laurie as its first full-time research biologist. More than thirty years later, she was selected as the Sanctuary’s Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science, overseeing all the conservation science department’s programs, staff, and facilities. Before he was appointed director, Goodrich had worked in virtually every aspect of conservation at Hawk Mountain, from overseeing its long-term migration counts, directing its education program, developing the first education plan, conducting scientific research, and publishing more than 50 peer-reviewed papers. She also helped raise and steward more than $1 million in grants or gifts for conservation science and education, including a transformational gift of $500,000 to expand raptor conservation education and more than $2 million for land conservation. Goodrich is considered exceptional in her ability to bring people together to foster successful long-term preservation. Locally, she launched the collaborative Pennsylvania Farmland Raptor and The Broad-winged Hawk research projects. Globally, she co-founded the now world-famous, million-raptor conservation site at the River of Raptors in Veracruz, Mexico. Working with colleagues at the Hawk Migration Association of North America, HawkWatch International, and Bird Studies Canada, she helped develop the award-winning Raptor Population Index Project. She contributed heavily to The State of North America’s Birds of Prey, the first comprehensive analysis of raptor populations across the continent. Combined, she has coordinated dozens of volunteers, trainees, and graduate students and interacted with countless citizen scientists.

David is a senior research biologist at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, responsible for collecting data in the field, managing their natural history databases, including their long-term raptor, bird, and butterfly counts, and for all Sanctuary GIS mapping projects. He also conducts stewardship and monitoring programs, helps in performing the annual count, and trains interns, particularly in wing-tagging techniques and the use of mapping software. David is a talented birder-by-ear and skilled naturalist who can be found out and about, working on completing the breeding bird, butterfly, and other annual Sanctuary surveys.

Dr. Ben Skipper is an Associate Professor of Biology at Angelo State University. He developed his passion for birds while earning his undergraduate degree at Auburn University. After graduation, he moved to Nebraska to work as a research technician for the Platter River Crane Trust, studying grassland birds and sandhill cranes. He earned his M.S. studying the interactions of grassland birds (bobolink, grasshopper sparrow) and brown-headed cowbirds. From Nebraska, he then moved to Texas Tech University to begin work on his Ph.D. studying Mississippi kites’ urban ecology and then later conducting post-doctoral research on golden eagles and other raptors of the inter-mountain west. After leaving Texas Tech, he began teaching at Angelo State University, where he mentors undergraduate and graduate students.

Carol started studying the ecology of Golden Eagles and other birds in Denali in 1987. Some of her recent studies focus on the movement ecology of Golden Eagles and other species. She is particularly interested in helping the National Park Service implement its Life-cycle Stewardship approach for all migratory species that occur in Alaska’s National Parks and Preserves. She has published her studies in scientific journals and co-authored the Birds of the World Golden Eagle species account. She is currently on the Alaska Songbird Institute board, serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Raptor Research, and as a member of the Nominations and Hamerstrom award committees of the Raptor Research Foundation. Carol was elected a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union in 2016. When she isn’t in the field studying birds, she’s out on the trail with her husband Ray and their small team of giant Alaska sled dogs.