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).


Sean McLaughlin – Spring Counter

Sean is from the ridge and valley province of Central Pennsylvania in the heart of hawk watching country. After years of birding the valleys, he discovered the wondrous migratory world in the air above. He has been a volunteer counter at Stone Mountain hawk watch, Bald Eagle hawk watch, and official counter at Tussey Mountain hawk watch. Sean has spent time in the north woods at Northland College, and is thrilled to spend this season in Duluth. When not birding, Sean can be found on a bike or fly fishing up a brook.

Sara DePew, Spring Naturalist/Count Interpreter

Growing up by exploring the creek and woods in her back yard, it seemed inevitable that Sara would gravitate towards a career in natural science. As a teenager she began volunteering at a raptor rehabilitation center and for eight years worked alongside the naturalists, learning about these amazing creatures. Sara received her B.A. in Zoology and Environmental Science from Miami University, in her hometown of Oxford, Ohio, and has lived in Michigan for the last 16 years.

For over two decades, Sara has been in the animal care and environmental education field, sharing her love of conservation with others. During her previous position as an animal care supervisor, Sara placed rehabilitated trumpeter swans into breeding programs to increase wild population numbers. Proud to be part of this conservation success story, she is a supporter of the “Get the Lead Out” campaign to reduce lead poisoning in waterfowl and bald eagles. Her paper, “Still Threatened: Trumpeter Swans and the Lead Crisis” was published in the American Association of Zookeepers’ Animal Keepers Forum.

Sara’s other interests include spending time with her animals at home, cooking, gardening, reading, and all things J.R.R. Tolkien; she dreams of one day visiting Middle Earth (a.k.a. New Zealand), where she can also see Kea parrots in the wild.


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.

Maggie Brown – Banding Trainee

Maggie 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. In fall of 2019, Maggie worked as an intern at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) in the Marin Headlands, CA where she fell in love with birds of prey. Since then, she has spent additional field seasons in California monitoring the nesting status and reproductive success of Northern Spotted Owls with Point Blue Conservation Science. Last year, Maggie experienced her first fall at Hawk Ridge while working as a count trainee and is thrilled to be back this year as a banding trainee! She looks forward to furthering her research skills this fall while once again enjoying the rhythm of migration and contributing to HRBO’s long-term datasets.

Jess Cosentino, Counter

Jess Cosentino grew up in New Hampshire and began birding while helping on Canada Warbler research with a local professor. After graduating with a degree in environmental biology, he spent the next few years working as a seasonal field technician on a mix of avian-related research between the States, Jamaica, and Western Australia. His journey into hawkwatching began during a fall season as an intern with the New Hampshire Audubon at their Carter Hill Raptor Observatory. He’s also spent raptor count seasons in Montana on the Bridger Mountain range as well as the Veracruz River of Raptors project in Mexico. He is currently finishing a MSc. at the University of Saskatchwen where he has studied migratory connectivity in Sanderling using stable isotopes in feathers both in the Canadian prairies as well as coastal Texas, Peru, and southern Chilé.

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 ninth year helping as one of the Banders at Hawk Ridge.


Julian Grudens, Counter

Julian is a birder and field biologist hailing from the sunshine state, where he graduated from the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation program at the University of Florida. With experience working on avian research and conservation projects across North America, he is excited to join Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory for the fall season. Migration and movement studies are some of his primary research and birding interests, which he has pursued as a migration counter and bander at bird observatories across the United States and Canada. From Big Bald Mountain in North Carolina to the shores of Long Point and Cape May, he is always excited to witness and study great spectacles of migration. When he is not birding or working with birds, Julian enjoys mountain biking, surfing, fishing, and other sports. Looking forward he aims to stay involved with research, education, and conservation efforts for wildlife, especially migratory birds.

Samantha Hagler, Count Trainee

Sam grew up in Andover, MA and fell in love with birds in fifth grade when she read My Side of the Mountain and learned about the conservation story of the peregrine falcon. She graduated from Cornell University in 2020 with a BS in Biological Sciences. As an undergrad with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, she studied red-backed fairywrens in Australia, hopped between natural history museums to study grosbeak and towhee hybridization, and spent two field seasons in South Texas studying the diet and behavior of Harris’s hawks. After graduating, she worked in raptor husbandry at the Cornell Raptor Program and then surveyed for cliff-nesting raptors as a field tech with Boise State University. In her free time, she is an avid birder, falconer, and writer.

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.

Elle Heiser, Banding/Count Trainee

Elle grew up on California’s central coast obsessed with all things raptor, and is taking a gap year to develop her field skill set as an aspiring ornithologist. She is ecstatic to be spending the fall as a Hawk Ridge trainee! Over the past three years, Elle has volunteered with the Intermountain Bird Observatory’s Team Goshawk in southern Idaho and northern Utah. Through this project she has participated in surveying for breeding goshawks and their prey, re-sighting color-banded individuals, climbing nest trees, and banding adults and nestlings. In addition to conducting fieldwork, Elle has helped Team Goshawk analyze prey, weather, and habitat data, with a publication she co-authored (“Local Weather Explains Annual Variation in Northern Goshawk Reproduction in the Northern Great Basin, USA”) coming out in this December’s issue of the Journal of Raptor Research. Once her gap year concludes, Elle will begin her undergrad as an Environment and Sustainability major at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, seeking to devote her career to the study and conservation of birds, especially raptors.

Claire Jones, Count Trainee

Claire grew up in northern New Jersey and has loved birds since childhood, a passion fueled by watching birds at backyard feeders and volunteering to help rehabilitate songbirds, pigeons, and waterfowl at The Raptor Trust. Claire went to Cornell University for undergrad, learning the basics of songbird banding and field methods at the Lab of Ornithology. Combining interests in birds and communication, Claire conducted research and wrote a thesis on song learning in zebra finches, before graduating with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in linguistics. Claire also worked at the Cornell Raptor Program for four years, training, feeding, caring for, and giving education programs with a variety of nonreleasable birds of prey, most notably a northern goshawk named Dean (pictured, right). Since graduating in May 2021, Claire spent the summer in Cape May, NJ working to help conserve threatened migratory shorebirds. Claire is very excited to be a hawk count trainee and visit Minnesota for the very first time this fall! Outside of work, Claire loves to cook and enjoys outdoor activities like trail running, backpacking, and rock climbing.

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 5th 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 – Graduate Research Student

Halle grew up surrounded by the beautiful lakes and forests of Wisconsin but has spent recent field seasons living in California, Washington, New Mexico, Illinois, and Nebraska. She is extremely passionate about avian conservation and has been grateful to experience the joy of working on projects related to threatened and endangered species management with various federal agencies and nonprofit partnerships. Halle’s specific interest in and love for raptors grew during her banding internship with Hawk Ridge in 2020, and she is thrilled to return to Duluth for a second season to begin her Master’s degree with UMD and the HRBO staff. If she has any free time during the coming year, you’ll probably find Halle hiking the beautiful trails of the Northwoods with her trusty binoculars.

Terry McLaughlin – Naturalist

Passion may be the best word describing the life, career and interests of Terry McLaughlin. For the past 40 years, Terry has expressed her passion for people and the natural world through environmental education. She has served as Director of Naturalist Training at Wolf Ridge ELC in Minnesota, Education Director and Graduate Program Director at Puget Sound ELC in Seattle, Field Naturalist and Mentor Teacher in Yosemite National Park, and Field Instructor with the Outdoor Experiences Program in Lee Vining, California. Through all of these positions, she has deepened her joy through helping people connect with the natural world. A perennial student herself, Terry has learned from every one of her students. Other passions in Terry’s life are her beloved husband of 42 years, Vern, her 16-year old dog, Sera, cooking, exercise and health. Ask her to go on a hike with you and make sure she brings enough lunch to share! And don’t forget your binoculars.

Ellen Munshower, Naturalist

Ellen grew up in a small town in south west Minnesota and graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a major in Biology, and minor in Environmental Studies. Currently Ellen is enrolled at UMD in the Masters in Environmental Education program. Ellen’s favorite thing to do outside is slow down every hike by trying to identify every bird and bug she comes across. Her passion for birds is genetic, she comes from a long line of bird-watchers but started to get serious after taking a course as an undergraduate with a professor who was a passionate birder. She’s always been interested in pursuing non-formal education and has worked as an educator at the North American Bear Center, the Alaska Songbird Institute, and a big cat sanctuary in Texas.

Ellen currently works at part time at Hartley Nature Center and Minnesota Sea Grant. This will be her first year working at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

Emily Lind, Naturalist

Emily Lind didn’t even know what a warbler was until she took an Ornithology course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After just one wild semester diving deep into the world of birds, Emily was in love! For a few years after college Emily studied unique and threatened birds such as the Kirtland’s Warbler and Greater-sage Grouse. If you meet Emily be sure to ask her about her experiences banding American White Pelican, White-faced Ibis, and Yellow Rail! Emily’s love for field work morphed into a love for education while working as the Citizen Science Technician at Beaver Creek Reserve in Fall Creek, Wisconsin.

The best part of her job was educating the public at the bird banding station. In 2019 Emily received her Master of Science in Environmental Education at Southern Oregon University. While she loved birding in the mountains of Oregon, she missed life in the Midwest. She made her way to Duluth in January 2021 with her husband, Dan, and their scruffy terrier, Ash. Emily is currently an Educational Guide at Duluth Forest Kinderhaus, a nature-based preschool here in Duluth. Emily loves teaching children bird song mnemonics because they think it is hilarious (and most of the time, it is!). In Emily’s free time she enjoys hiking, kayaking, swimming, gardening, and cross-country skiing. She also loves to bake and some people say she makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

Lisa Oakland – Visitor Services Specialist

This is Lisa’s third 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. Her love of birding, her customer experiences, love of interacting with people and her love of t- shirts and hats makes the merchandise trailer a perfect place for her to be in the fall. She lives in Cloquet, MN with her wife Barb. They enjoy spending free time camping,birding, 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!

Allie Johnsted – 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 eighth fall season as a weekend Naturalist with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

Becca Ralston, Naturalist

Becca grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she spent her teen years volunteering at the National Aviary and fell in love with birds in the process. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Wildlife Ecology and a BA in Environmental Humanities in 2020. Previously, she has monitored Golden-cheeked Warblers in Texas; nest-searched for Nelson’s Sparrows in Maine; retrieved geolocators from Wood Thrush in Delaware; and banded Northern Saw-whet Owls in Pennsylvania. Becca is most passionate about projects that combine scientific research with public education. She looks forward to spending this fall as a naturalist with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

Emma Regnier – Banding Trainee

Emma grew up in Wilmette, IL and discovered her love for wildlife through the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. 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. Last fall she witnessed the magic of fall migration at Hawk Ridge as a Count Trainee and she spent this spring rappelling into Golden Eagle nests for Boise State University. She is thrilled to be returning to Duluth as a Banding Trainee for the 2021 season!

John Richardson – Volunteer Counter

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.

Sophie Richardson, Education Intern

Sophie is a sophomore undergraduate at the College of Saint Scholastica. She currently studies English, Sustainability, and Biology in the hopes to become an ornithologist in the future. Sophie grew up in the Duluth area and has observed the various birds migrate each year. She loves nature, birding, and observing. This fall, she is excited to further explore the patterns and personalities of her feathered friends.

Emma Riley, Naturalist

Emma Riley was first introduced to birding and wildlife biology as a kid through various biology summer camps and family outings to the International Crane Foundation and the International Festival of Owls, to name a few. She explored other passions for many years, but Emma ended up finding her way back to wildlife when she transferred to Colorado State University as a sophomore in 2016. Emma earned her B.S. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University in 2020, and found her place in raptor biology thanks to a volunteer position with Ferruginous Hawks during her time at CSU. Emma has spent most of her adult life working in environmental and outdoor education, and is stoked about the opportunity to merge her two passions for education and raptors as a Naturalist this fall at Hawk Ridge. When she’s not birding, Emma can be found hiking or paddling with her partner and their cat Tallulah, or wrapped up in a bad reality tv show.

Valerie Slocum, Volunteer Coordinator

Valerie grew up in Battle Creek, MI (aka the cereal capital of the world) with a love of the outdoors and the living world. She received her B.A.A. in Earth Science and Outdoor and Environmental Recreation from Central Michigan University. Valerie has spend the majority of her career both teaching educational programs as well as working with educational raptors at facilities such as Kalamazoo Nature Center, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, the Lake Superior Zoo, where she also served as the Volunteer Manager, and currently at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation. Volunteering has always played a big role in her life and began holding regular volunteer jobs when she was 15. She believes that volunteering is one of the most fulfilling activities that people can participate in. Valerie began volunteering with Hawk Ridge in 2013 and is very excited to work with all of the amazing volunteers this year! Her favorite bird is the Turkey Vulture, and if there’s anything you want to know, please ask her because she loves to tell anyone she can about these amazing creatures!

Amy Sturz – Education Trainee

Amy Sturz is originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and holds two graduate degrees: one in Environmental Science and Policy (UW-Green Bay) and one in Environmental Education and Interpretation (UW-Steven’s Point). Over the course of her 7-year career she’s worked for the Forest Service, National Park Service, the Wisconsin DNR, and many different non-profits. She also currently holds the part time social media coordinator position at the Great Lakes Aquarium. Her love of birds extends to her two cockatiels and green cheek conure at home.


Alex Sundvall, Counter

Alex began birding at the young age of five years old. It all started when his kindergarten class took a field trip to Westwood Hills Nature Center in his hometown of Saint Louis Park, MN where the class helped in releasing a Dark-eyed Junco. That Dark-eyed Junco was his spark bird, and as they say: the rest was history. From that moment on, Alex was a sponge for all things bird-related. He received his first bird field guide when he was seven, and whenever anyone would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would say: “I’m going to be an ornithologist!” In recent years, Alex has started to live that dream. In 2016 at age 19, he was awarded the Young Birder Award by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union. Alex graduated with a BS in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota with minors in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; and Forest Ecosystem, Management, and Conservation. While in school, he studied the boreal breeding birds of northern Minnesota and the birds of the prairie potholes of western Minnesota. Alex loves teaching and showing people new birds and currently works as a guide for NatureScape Tours. He has also led tours for the Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival, Minnetonka Community Education, the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, Westwood Hills Nature Center, Carpenter Nature Center, the Hastings Birding Festival, and the National Park Service.

Alex is excited to return to his Hawk Ridge family for another year counting birds in a front-row seat to one of North America’s premier migratory spectacles!

Hannah Toutonghi – Graduate Research Student

Hannah Toutonghi is excited to be back at Hawk Ridge for a fifth season! She grew up in Washington State, where she found her love of birds and the natural world from an early age. After earning a B.S in biochemistry from the University of Washington, field work became the next chapter of her career. She has previously worked at the Natural Resource Research Institute, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, and the Institute for Bird Populations. Highlights from those seasonal positions include: getting dive-bombed by a Northern Goshawk while conducting point counts, banding juvenile Saw-whet Owls, witnessing the irruption of Black-backed Woodpeckers and White-winged Crossbills during fall migration, and hearing Marbled Murrelets in the old-growth forests of the Olympic National Park. Currently, Hannah is a second-year Master’s student at UMD, and will continue her work on researching the winter ecology and movement of Northern Hawk Owls. Hannah also enjoys hiking, camping, photography, and spending time with family, but never parting with her binoculars since birding can be done at any time, anywhere!

Abbie Valine – Bander

Abbie Valine first discovered birds in her second-grade science class and never looked back. She began volunteering with the Hawk Ridge passerine banding program at the age of 15 and was soon sucked into the excitement of the raptor station. Since graduating from the University of Northwestern–St. Paul with a B.S. in biology, Abbie has spent field seasons monitoring Golden-cheeked Warblers, recording Song Sparrows, nest-searching for Cerulean Warblers, deploying geolocators on Northern Shrikes, and nest-searching for Florida Scrub-Jays. Abbie is excited to be back at Hawk Ridge for a second great season of hawk trapping at the Moose Valley station.

Sierra Wilson, Education Trainee

Sierra Wilson hails from Breckenridge, Colorado. While pursuing her degree in Zoology at Colorado State University, she fell in love with birds, and has been hooked ever since. She has worked with birds all over Colorado, British Columbia, and South Africa, and is excited to work with them in Minnesota. Outside of birds and work, she loves to paint, hike, camp, paddle board, and hang out with her dog Strider.

Andy Witchger – Owl Bander

Andy first came to Hawk Ridge as a volunteer, where he developed a passion for passerine banding and birds of prey. For the last four years, he’s worked as a naturalist at Hawk Ridge. During that time, he’s also worked with penguins in New Zealand, owls in Michigan, and passerines on Cape Cod. 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, an MA from the University of St. Thomas, and spent 12 years teaching in the Twin Cities. When not chasing birds, you’ll either find him at a concert venue or hiking and fly-fishing along the North Shore.