Help Solve the Mysteries of Migration over the Straits

Where do hawks go after crossing the Straits of Mackinac?  

Here’s an awesome opportunity for MSRW to find out – with your help!

This winter, a Red-tailed Hawk banded by Nick Alioto, for Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, in April 2019 was recovered near Holly, Michigan (16 miles south of Flint).  We now know that this hawk lived at least 6 years, crossed the Straits heading north during at least one spring, and returned to central Michigan at least this February. 

But that is just the tip of the iceberg! 

How far north did the bird fly?  What route did it take?  Where did it stop along the way?  When and by what route did it return south each year?  Banding returns cannot answer these incredibly important questions that are needed to guide effective conservation efforts.

And that’s the opportunity! 

MSRW has the chance to team up with owl and hawk bander Nick Alioto in his research for a Master’s degree at Michigan State University.  Nick will be banding raptors for MSRW (Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch) again this spring.  He would like to also outfit some of the Red-tailed Hawks with a light weight backpack data recorder/transmitter to learn about their movements for part of his Masters research.  This is a fantastic way to unravel the mystery of migration.

MSRW would like to raise funding for three transmitters, by March 7th, 2021. 

Each unit, which works using Wi-Fi locating technology via cell phone towers (very similar to GPS), costs $1,359, for a total of $4,077.
Donors willing to cover the cost of one transmitter

  • Will be invited to meet Nick personally in the field this spring. 
  • You will earn the right to ‘name’ your bird (includes certificate and photo) and to receive updates on where your hawk is. 
  • This would be a great gift to an aspiring young birder!  

Contributors of $500 or more

  • Will get updates on the status of the study. 

All contributors

  • Will be able to follow the progress of Nick’s research – and the birds – on Nick’s MSRW blog postings.

The deadline for this fundraising is March 7, so that the units will arrive in time to use this spring. 

Donate online using credit card or PayPal through our donate link here: DONATE, or send a check to MSRW, P.O. Box 465, Petoskey, MI 49770.

Nick Alioto with a Red Tailed Hawk that he previously banded for MSRW

Thanks for your help with this great research project!

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