Janelle Long – Executive Director
Janelle Long began her career as the Executive Director at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in August 2007. She received her M.Ed. in Environmental Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a B.S. in Wildlife Management and Biology at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Her interest in ornithology and conservation biology began by assisting several Ph.D. students with their field research studying neotropical migrants and grassland birds. She continued to share her passion for birds in the field of environmental education working at several Audubon Centers and for the Bureau of Land Management’s Yaquina Head Oustanding Natural Area in OR. She enjoys bridging the bird conservation research, education, and stewardship components through her career with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Janelle resides in Duluth, MN with her husband and 3 children.
Margie Menzies – Education Program Director
One part educator, two parts naturalist, and two parts bird nerd! Who says slow and steady wins the race? After years in the formal classroom, this educator has abandoned the indoors for the great outdoor classroom. Margie joined the Hawk Ridge staff as a Naturalist in 2011 and currently is the Education Program Director for Hawk Ridge. Providing naturalist programming for the general public furnishes many colorful and meaningful experiences with every day on the job. She loves birds, learning, and sharing the natural world with people of all ages. She also works with passerine banding at Hawk Ridge during migration and with three MAPS stations studying summer breeding birds at Hawk Ridge, Wolf Ridge, and Sugarloaf Cove. She has a BA in Biology from Bethel University, and a MA in Education from University of St. Thomas. In addition to her Hawk Ridge adventures she also is the Naturalist at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center up the North Shore in Schroeder, MN during the summer, and is an adjunct member of the University of Minnesota, Duluth Education Department working primarily with student teacher supervision.
Frank Nicoletti – Banding Director/Spring Count Director
Frank Nicoletti grew up in New York State along the Hudson River where he started watching raptors at the age of 11. His passion for raptors and other birds fueled him to work at various locations including Cape May and Sandy Hook NJ, Braddock Bay NY and in Israel. From 1984 until 1996 he traveled throughout the country and conducted various raptor related projects which included nesting surveys, tracking winter raptors and migration work. He arrived in Duluth in 1991 to count raptors and to witness the invasion of the Northern Goshawk and he conducted the count until 2005. After moving to Duluth permanently in the fall of 1996, he conducted the first spring count of raptors migrating north in Minnesota along the West Skyline Parkway of Duluth. Frank continues to study raptors and has been concentrating on boreal forest owls and managing raptor banding sites. He has published a number of papers on birds and has helped with many authors working on books and articles.
He lives just north of Duluth with his wife, Kate. Frank joined the Hawk Ridge staff in 2011 as the Banding Director and as of 2018 will also be directing the Hawk Ridge Spring Count (West Skyline Hawk Count).
John Richardson – Fall Count Director/Media Specialist
John Richardson hails from East Yorkshire in the UK, but has called Northern Minnesota home for over 20 years. Enjoying his life-long passion for birds, he is a professional bird guide. John joined the Hawk Ridge staff in 2016 and has worked in both the Count Interpreter and Count Director roles. John resides in Duluth with his 3 boys.
FALL 2020 TEAM
We welcome our Fall 2020 team which includes seasonal employees and volunteers. *Note: Hawk Ridge is happy to continue to work with UMD Graduate Students on their raptor research in conjunction with our Raptor Banding Project
David Alexander – Volunteer Bander
David Alexander grew up living all over the world, and after finishing his medical training in Dallas, Madison, and Tucson finally decided it was time to settle down. Through some luck, he and his wife Christina Tarasczuk landed in Duluth, MN of all places. David has been a sometimes passionate birder over the years and still manages to get overseas for a few nature trips a year. Starting in the Fall of 1995, he has been an annual visitor and later a volunteer at Hawk Ridge.
David served on the board of Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve for many years, took a hiatus, and is now in his second term on the board of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. David works full-time as a radiologist for Essentia Health in Duluth. In his time off, he spends long days at Hawk Ridge in the fall helping to lead the Hawk Ridge Passerine Banding Project, as well as one of the assistant banders in the raptor project. In conjunction with Margie Menzies, he helps direct the summer MAPS breeding bird banding study.
Claire Anderson – Intern
Maggie Brown – Bird Count Trainee
Maggie Brown grew up in Villa Park, IL and graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Zoology in 2019. Through her studies at MSU, she developed a passion for wildlife and began seeking opportunities to learn more, especially about birds. As a result, during the fall of 2019, she worked as a field intern at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in Sausalito, CA. There, she developed skills counting and banding migrating hawks and established her love for birds of prey. Captivated by the wildlife of California, she spent the following spring months as an intern with Point Blue Conservation Science conducting breeding surveys of Northern Spotted Owls in Marin County, CA. While California holds a special place in her heart, Maggie is thrilled to be back in the Midwest to continue building on these past field experiences during her time at Hawk Ridge and looks forward to the challenges and exciting moments of migration this fall!
Lisa Brouellette – Graduate Research Student
Lisa is a biology Masters student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her project is studying the diet of raptors at Hawk Ridge during migration. She received her Bachelors of Science in ecology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Before graduate school, she spent two years working as a field assistant and intern working on various ornithological research projects. When she is not chasing birds, Lisa enjoys caring for her dozens of houseplants, drinking tea, and exploring Duluth’s beautiful parks. This fall, she is excited to continue working on HRBO’s current research projects.
Miranda Durbin – Volunteer Bander
Miranda Durbin has lived in Duluth most of her life, growing up right below Hawk Ridge. She got her BS in Fisheries and Wildlife, with a specialization in Wildlife at the University of Minnesota. Her love of birds didn’t begin in earnest until an ornithology class and an internship at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville helping in the avian nursery.After some traveling and time away from Duluth, she moved back in 2011 and began volunteering at Hawk Ridge during the 2012 fall season. She started volunteering in the banding station in 2013 and this will be her seventh year helping as one of the Banders at Hawk Ridge.
Danny Erickson – Owl Bander
Danny Erickson first discovered birding while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology in 2017. Since that time, he has worked on a variety of banding projects. This includes trapping, banding, and counting migrating raptors both with HawkWatch International in central New Mexico and Cedar Grove Ornithological Research Station in eastern Wisconsin. Danny is excited to start his first migration season at Hawk Ridge!
Jason Heinen – Naturalist/Count Interpreter
Jason was bitten by the birding bug during his undergraduate studies in fisheries ecology in Oklahoma. During a camping trip to the Texas hill country, he took notice of the boisterous Black-crested Titmice and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and has been hooked ever since. Soon thereafter, he found himself, along with three others also afflicted, on a flight to Oaxaca City where he spent a much needed spring break careening through the Sierra Madre in a tiny car and tallying well over 300 species including a boatload of marvelous endemics. His love of travel and photography has taken him to many incredible locales including the Andes and the Amazon. He has also worked as a field tech in the Wichita, Ouachita, and Appalachian Mountains. After earning an MS in avian ecology, he spent the next three years as a research specialist investigating the bird-collision risks involved in training flights from Vance Air Force Base. More recently, Jason has begun to focus more on another of his passions – teaching. As a substitute and full time middle school science teacher, he spent much of the past 5 years delighting students with his Barred Owl impression. Most recently, he began work as a naturalist and welcome center host with Friends of Sax-Zim Bog. Jason brings great passion and enthusiasm for birds and conservation to the talented staff of HRBO this fall.
Steve Kolbe – Volunteer Counter
Steve Kolbe has counted migrating birds at Bradbury Mountain, the Avalon Seawatch, Tussey Mountain, Holiday Beach, Kiptopeke, Derby Hill, and Hawk Ridge (fall 2014 & spring 2018). He recently completed his Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth studying the migration of Common Nighthawks and is currently working for the Natural Resources Research Institute. Steve will be returning for his 4th season as a volunteer to help with the fall bird migration count at Hawk Ridge. Steve loves watching and taking photographs of migrating birds.
Halle Lambeau – Banding Trainee
Halle Lambeau grew up around the beautiful wooded landscapes and many lakes of Wisconsin and received her Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She took advantage of every opportunity she could to gain experience in the wildlife field and was able to participate in various projects surveying for different sensitive avian species all over the United States. Most recently in 2020, Halle completed a California Condor Monitoring Internship in southern California as well as a position nest-searching for grassland birds in Illinois. Much of her past work has involved hands-off bird monitoring with public lands agencies, but she is really looking forward to gaining invaluable handling and ID experience to supplement her current skill set this fall at Hawk Ridge. When she’s not birding, Halle spends much of her time camping, hiking, kayaking, or anything else that she can do outdoors.
Lisa Oakland – Visitor Services Specialist
This is Lisa’s second year working at Hawk Ridge, but she is not a stranger. For many years she could be found up at the Ridge every fall to watch the migration and reconnect with staff, volunteers, and friends. She was raised in Duluth in a family that spent a lot of time outdoors, especially enjoying frequent camping trips every summer. She came to love birding as an adult through the influence of her wife and her father, who was a Hawk Ridge board member and avid birder. Lisa has many years of retail/customer service experience, most recently as the Optical Manager at Shopko in Duluth. She lives in Cloquet, MN with her wife Barb. They enjoy spending free time camping, kayaking, and time outdoors in general-usually with binoculars. When not pursuing these activities she can be found with a good book in hand.
Emily Pavlovic – Graduate Research Student
Emily grew up in Northwest Indiana and got a BA in Biochemistry from Earlham College. Since then she has taught environmental education at various nature centers across the country. While working for the Audubon Society her love for birds and specifically raptors grew. Currently, she is collecting data at Hawk Ridge for her research project as an MS student in Integrated Biosciences at UMD. Emily lives with her partner, Sean, and their bluetick coonhound, Ezra. They enjoy hiking, cooking (and eating), and learning new skills! Emily is really grateful for all of the support from the HRBO Crew!
Allie Pesano – Graduate Research Student
Allie grew up in Syracuse, NY, obtained a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Unity College, and has traveled the country working on various avian ecology projects. She first joined Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory (HRBO) as a banding trainee in 2016. With this experience she discovered a passion for raptor migration and a home-away-from-home in Duluth and the HRBO community. This then led her to working with HawkWatch International in 2017, where she trapped, banded, and counted migrating raptors at the Goshute Mountains migration site in Nevada. She was excited to join HRBO again in 2018 as a bander, primarily running the Moose Valley station. Currently, Allie is about to start her second year of graduate school at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, while taking on her first full field season in which she is collecting data from Red-tailed Hawks captured at HRBO!
Nick Pusateri – Counter
Nick comes all the way from Rochester, New York for his second season at Hawk Ridge. Last fall he worked as a Count Trainee and is excited to be back! After earning a B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology from SUNY Brockport, he realized birding was his calling. Since then, he has worked several seasons for Braddock Bay Raptor Research at the hawk watch and conducting Owl Surveys. He also spent a season in Wyoming working for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies conducting point count surveys across the state. He takes interest all aspects of nature and even worked for the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps building trails in Colorado. Nick is looking forward to counting this season at Hawk Ridge and hopes to gain more experience to further his career.
Allie Quick – Naturalist
Allie grew up in Superior, Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Superior with a major in Biology, minor in Earth Science, and a certification in Information Technology Systems. Allie enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, canoeing, snowboarding, and bird watching. Her passion for birds (primarily raptors) started after she took an Ornithology class at UWS. She also was a biology tutor at UWS, which grew her passion for teaching. Allie currently works as a Client Service Associate with Liberty Wealth Management of Raymond James. She will be returning for her seventh fall season as a weekend Naturalist with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.
Emma Regnier – Bird Count Trainee
Emma grew up in Wilmette, IL and discovered her love for wildlife through the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Her interest in birds took flight when she volunteered to feed, care for, and give education presentations about the resident non-releasable raptors of the Cornell Raptor Program during her undergraduate studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She learned how to band passerines and shorebirds through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and briefly volunteered in Cape May, NJ to learn the fundamentals of raptor banding. She graduated in 2019 from Cornell University with concurrent BS and BFA degrees, having combined her interests in ecology and science illustration. Her passion for raptor conservation and research led her to intern with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) in the Marin Headlands of California. At GGRO, Emma became an ardent hawkwatcher, honing her raptor identification skills against the San Francisco skyline. She strives to continue working as a raptor biologist and scientific illustrator in the field of avian conservation, research, and education outreach.
Hannah Toutonghi – Graduate Research Student
Hannah Toutonghi is excited to be back at Hawk Ridge for a fourth season! She grew up in Washington State, where she found her love of birds and the natural world from an early age. She is starting her Master’s degree at UMD this year, and will be researching the wintering range and bioenergetics of Northern Hawk Owls. She has previously worked at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory banding juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owls, was the banding and count intern at Hawk Ridge, and has also done backcountry point counts in the Olympic National Park. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2016 with a B.S in biochemistry, but has always loved the outdoors and getting experience doing field work with birds. She is excited to work with Frank Nicoletti on this new project and experience a true Duluth winter!
Abbie Valine – Bander
Abbie Valine first discovered birds in her second-grade science class and never looked back. Thanks to the freedom of homeschooling, she began volunteering at the Hawk Ridge passerine banding station at the age of 15 and was soon sucked into the excitement of the raptor station. After graduating in December 2018 from the University of Northwestern–St. Paul with a B.S. in biology, Abbie has spent field seasons monitoring and deploying geolocators on Golden-cheeked Warblers in central Texas; recording Song Sparrows on Santa Cruz Island, CA; banding and nest-searching for Cerulean Warblers in southern Indiana; and banding hawks and owls as one of the 2019 HRBO banding trainees. In her free time, she enjoys birding, hiking, reading, playing the flute, and baking unhealthy snacks for her coworkers. Abbie is excited to be back at Hawk Ridge for another great season of raptor banding!
Jessy Wilson – Banding Trainee
Jessy Wilson hails from southwest Virginia, and is thrilled to be pursuing her dream of raptor research and conservation by working as a banding trainee at Hawk Ridge this fall! She graduated from Bridgewater College with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology & Environmental Science in 2019 and has been traveling for field work ever since. Jessy has previously worked as a breeding bird survey technician, a kestrel and barn owl nest monitor, a seabird bander in the Atlantic Northeast, a passerine bander in Nova Scotia, and most recently as a field technician for the California Condor Recovery Program in southern California. She has a keen interest in raptors and hopes to study them in greater detail over the coming years. When asked how she fell in love with birds, Jessy will tell you that she was allergic to every other type of animal and that birds were the only ones left.
Andy Witchger – Naturalist
Andy first came to Hawk Ridge as a volunteer, where he developed a passion for passerine banding and birds of prey. Since that time he’s received certifications from the Institute for Bird Populations and has spent years banding with Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center, Wolf Ridge ELC and Hawk Ridge. Prior to working at Hawk Ridge, he received a BA and MA from St. John’s University and spent 12 years as a teacher in the Minneapolis area. When not chasing warblers, you’ll find him hiking and fly-fishing along the North Shore. This is Andy’s third fall season as a Hawk Ridge Naturalist.