Seasonal Contractors

Calvin Brennan - Spring Hawk Counter

I’ve worked as the fall and spring MSRW hawk counter at Point LaBarbe and Mackinaw City since Fall of 2020. I currently live in Grayling, MI but spend much of my time in the Spring and Fall following the bird migration. I have counted hawks at several locations, including Whitefish Point, Brockway Mountain, Detroit River (all in Michigan), and Kiptopeke in Virginia.

Gracie Sangmeister

Gracie Sangmeister – Spring Hawk Counter, Mackinac Island

I’m from Penndel, PA, and I graduated from Juniata College in 2021 with my bachelor’s in wildlife conservation.  I have been the counter on Mackinac Island since 2022.  I’ve also been a counter at Bake Oven Knob in eastern PA, and at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth, MN.  On top of counting, I have worked as a naturalist at Hawk Ridge and at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center on the north shore of MN.  I also volunteered at Hawk Ridge with their owl banding and songbird banding operations, spending many late nights and early mornings learning as much as I can! I am excited to spend another season with MSRW, counting on this awesome island!

Nick Alioto with RTHA

Nick Alioto – Spring Lead Raptor Bander

I’m originally from Sunderland, Ontario, Canada.  I obtained my BS in 2016 from Bishops’ University in Quebec, Canada.  Over the past 8 years I have worked throughout the United States and Canada on various avian projects relating to movement ecology and banding. Some of these projects include banding migratory owls in Northern Michigan, Eastern Whip-poor-will GPS and VHF tagging in Illinois, passerine and owl banding in the boreal forest of Northern Ontario, and diurnal raptor banding in Idaho and Michigan. I am currently pursuing a post-graduate degree at Michigan State University and my research focuses on the movement ecology of Red-tailed Hawks migrating through the Straits region of Michigan. This project is a collaboration between Michigan State University, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch and The Red-tailed Hawk project.

Hannah Glass

Hannah Glass – Spring Assistant Raptor Bander

I’m from South Boston, Virginia, and I graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2020, with my Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation. I’ve previously worked as an avian technician for SHARP (Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program) at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, which focuses on the threatened Saltmarsh Sparrow. I also worked as an avian technician for various projects at the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech, including for piping plovers, cerulean warblers, red knots, tree swallows, and for breeding birds in Virginia.  I have had a passion for birds and their conservation since I was young, through birding with my dad. I have so much love and admiration for birds, and being able to participate in another season of raptor banding with MSRW is incredibly exciting!

Evan Buck

Evan Buck – Spring Raptor Bander, Secondary Blind

I’m from Fayetteville, Tennessee, and I graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in May 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.  I’ve previously worked as a field technician in many different locations, including Mississippi, Maryland, Tennessee, Idaho, North Carolina, the Saltmarshes on the East Coast, as well as in Panama and Colombia!  I’ve worked on hawk watch, owl banding, radio telemetry, acoustic monitoring, avian point counts and raptor banding projects, to name a few.  I have a passion for avian fieldwork and particularly banding, as well as for avian research and conservation. In addition, I have two avian related papers published, with several more papers in prep or review.   Finally, as you might expect, I have been an avid birder for most of my life.  I look forward to concentrating my efforts on the raptor banding project at Mackinac Straits this spring!

Raina Henze

Raina Henze – Spring Owl Bander

I’m from Solon, Iowa, and am pursuing a degree in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation at Northwest Missouri State University, focusing on conservation and education opportunities related to avian research.   I have worked several seasons in avian-related assignments, such as banding of dabbling and diving waterfowl with the University of Arkansas Monticello, banding small passerine birds with the University of Iowa, Missouri Western State University, and Northern Illinois University, as well as doing habitat management research related to the Short-Eared Owl and Greater Prairie Chicken in restored Iowa prairies.  My experience also delves into outdoor education, as the Wilderness Instructor at Point O’Pines Camp for Girls oversees the environmental education of nearly 200 young women ages 6-15. This program focuses on hands-on, inquiry-led teaching in topic areas such as plant identification, Indigenous cultural practices, trail building, Leave-No-Trace, and native gardening.  I look forward to helping MSRW continue their outstanding research and resource management programs, using my experience, passion, work ethic and qualifications.

Sarah Reding – Raptor Naturalist

After 28 years living in Kalamazoo, MI, I moved to the Les Cheneaux Island area in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. I have been a birdwatcher, getting my inspiration for birds on a high school trip to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. I recently finished a 28-year career with the Kalamazoo Nature Center, leading the Conservation Stewardship and Outreach Education programs. While at the nature center, I oversaw the Avian research at the Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory, which involved fall bird banding (one of the most extended banding programs in the nation), summer banding, and monitoring programs within the Fort Custer Military installation.

I also coordinated the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas II publication and conducted a nationwide Cerulean Warbler survey on military installations within their range. I am an Interpretive naturalist, biologist, and guide by training. In addition, I lead kayak and hiking trips for Woods and Waters in the Les Cheneaux Islands. I love to share the conservation and research of birds with all ages!

I look forward to welcoming you to our Raptor Watch and sharing our exciting programs!

Hailee Cederquist

Hailee Cederquist – Spring Hawk Watch Volunteer

I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but have made my second home near the Pigeon River Country State Forest in Vanderbilt. I graduated in 2022 from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, planning to eventually pursue a career in wildlife research. I have presented research and reports at multiple conferences, worked as an invasive species and habitat restoration technician in Michigan for Huron Pines, volunteered with Blanding’s Turtle surveys, and performed wildlife surveys on wind farms in Minnesota. Currently I am happy to be pursuing many volunteer opportunities, including working with the amazing Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch!

Our Previous MSRW Contractors

Adam Cupito

(Waterbirds — Spring, 2021).

I’m from Loveland, Ohio, and I graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2018 with my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Science. I’ve previously worked trapping quail and grouse, and fitting them with radio transmitter collars and backpack GPS transmitters, and conducted telemetry research from that data. I’ve also done extensive bird banding, counts and surveys, at sites in Sweden, New York, Texas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Ohio.

Adam (Bradley) Richardson

(Waterbirds — Spring, 2018).

Since 2018, I published my first hawk migration study from Bridger Mountains, Montana, and returned there for another count; surveyed woodpeckers near Atlanta, Idaho; and did breeding bird point count surveys across Montana, Idaho, and Utah. In 2020, I launched a new spring hawk count at Camp Baker, Montana, in cooperation with Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society in Great Falls, which accepts this work's donations.

Arthur Sanchez Jr.

(Owls — Spring, 2017).

Since working with MSRW in 2017, I worked for spring 2018 and 2019 at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ohio, one of the highest volume stations in the U.S. I obtained a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology, from the University of Delaware, and now, I am a Pathways Fellow with the USFWS and a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Aspen Ellis

(Waterbirds — Fall, 2017).

I obtained my BS in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan in 2017. Since working with MSRW, I've led crews studying beach-nesting birds for Conserve Wildlife Foundation New Jersey, contributed to research and rehabilitation efforts for endangered shearwater populations on Kauai, worked at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and monitored seabird colonies off the coast of California with the Common Murre Restoration Project. I'm now a Ph.D. student and NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz, while working there as a Seabird Ecologist. My current research is focused on approaches to assess and mitigate the impacts of offshore wind energy development to marine bird populations, and I'm particularly interested in approaches to produce net positive impacts of renewable energy development for wildlife.

Benjamin Stalheim

(Waterbirds — Fall, 2020).

I am a wildlife and evolutionary biologist who has studied nesting strategies in flammulated owls, the succession of invasive plants in freshly burned areas, marbled murrelet nest success/occupancy, and seabird foraging in marine protected areas. I am interested in conserving wildlife as they shift in a world influenced by climate change. Additionally, I am passionate about connecting local communities with the wildlife and plants around them, because this allows for education, inspiration, and opportunities to explore the world around us.

Chad Cremer

(Owls — Spring, 2019).

Since then I’ve worked as a field technician at the Illinois Natural History Survey, located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. In the fall of 2021, I went back to school to obtain a Master of Science in Environmental Science, and will complete my degree in 2023. At the same time, I’m working as a graduate research assistant, investigating the migration ecology of Sora and Virginia Rail in Central Illinois.

Connor Vara

(Owls — Spring, 2018).

Starting in 2017, Connor worked several summers for Adirondack Watershed Institute on the stewardship side, protecting the lakes from aquatic invasive species which is key to keeping the Adirondacks, and its natural waterbodies healthy. Currently, he is a Research Technician in the Environmental Research Lab of the AWI.

Danny Erickson

Danny Erickson

(Owls — Spring, 2023).

I’m from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin where in 2017 I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Wildlife Ecology. Since then, I’ve been following birds on several projects including Spotted Owl demography in California, Sharp-shinned Hawk conservation in Puerto Rico, a collaborator on The Red-tailed Hawk Project, as well as banding diurnal and nocturnal raptors in the upper Midwest, studying breeding and movement ecologies. Each fall I oversee the raptor count and banding operations at Cedar Grove Ornithological Research Station (CGORS) in eastern Wisconsin. I’ve been fortunate to work with many skilled raptor researchers at HawkWatch International, The Peregrine Fund, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, and now am honored to assist in owl research at a world-renowned bird banding and migration hotspot!

Emily Wilmoth

(Owls — Spring, 2016).

Since 2016, I graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in May 2018 with a Master's degree in Environmental Education.

Frances Whalen

Frances Whelan

(Raptor Naturalist — Spring, 2017 / Owls — Fall, 2017).

Since working for MSRW I was a raptor trapping intern at Cedar Grove Ornithological Research Station in Wisconsin, a Mississippi kite technician (monitoring nest of and trapping Mississippi kites), a naturalist at Hawk Ridge, Minnesota, and am currently a fisheries technician for Southern Illinois University.

Hannah Landwerlen

Hannah Landwerlen

(Owls — Fall 2023)

I’m from Holly, Michigan, and I am a 2020 Michigan State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife and a minor in Environmental Sustainability. I have worked several seasons as a lead songbird bander at the Burke Lake Banding station, and was lead songbird bander at Intermountain Bird Observatory, and in Kaua’i for the Kaua’i Forest Bird Recovery Project. I spent a fall at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory for a season as a raptor banding trainee. I’ve also worked as a field/research technician for Whip-poor-wills, Kirtland’s Warblers, endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrows, bluebirds and American robins. I would like to pursue a PhD in the future and I want to ensure I have a great breadth of field skills, and that I am prepared for such an undertaking

Jadine Lee

Jadine Lee

(Owls — Fall, 2023).

I’m from Saint Paul, Minnesota, and I graduated in 2018 from the University of Wisconsin Madison, with my Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Conservation Biology. I have worked as a field technician and bander for Whooping cranes, Spotted owls and many species of passerines. I’m also a leader in the Urban Bird Collective in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, which was created “to support birdwatchers of all different skill levels in leading walks in our own neighborhoods”, and to encourage “all communities to come out and explore birding and the outdoors”. I am an enthusiastic learner with an unequivocal passion for conservation, and I would be honored to work for such a committed and purposeful institution!

Jason Bojczyk

Jason Bojczyk

(Hawks — Fall, 2018, 2019).

Jason Newton

Jason Newton

(Waterbirds — Spring + Fall, 2016 / Hawks — Spring, 2017).

Jess Gwinn

Jess Gwinn

(Owls — Fall, 2021).

In 2001 I visited Hawk Mountain in PA with a friend, and visited a Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station. Being told there were few stations in the lower Midwest (none in IN) we decided to start one. This became the Yellowwood State Forest station, still in operation today. I then decided to try banding at my home in Greene County, IN, where I had never seen or heard a NSWO. This proved successful, and banding at this site continued through 2019. I have banded more than a thousand owls in my career. In 2011 I started a MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) station, also at my home, which ran until after the 2020 season. Since 2011, I have been volunteering with the Indiana DNR, helping to build and install Barn Owl nest boxes, and scouting locations for new boxes.

Jodi Pinder

Jodi Pinder

(Owls — Fall, 2022).

I’m from Buxton, Maine, and I graduated from the University of New Haven in May 2014 with my Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. I’ve previously worked as a research assistant, a field supervisor and a field technician for dark-eyed junco projects in Virginia; for a northern bobwhite project in Florida; for black-capped chickadee projects in New Hampshire; for a common loon project in Maine; and for freshwater fish populations in Connecticut. In addition, I spent a year as the head intern and lead caretaker for bird species at Connecticut’s largest wildlife rehabilitation center. I rehabilitated and took care of over 600 animals including avian, mammalian, and reptile species. My ultimate career goal is to use the skills I’ve acquired to help develop conservation and management plans for various indicator species. I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch!

Jonah Levy

(Waterbirds — Spring, 2019).

Since then, I have done two seasons of point counts and remote montane atlasing for the Maine Breeding Bird Atlas (Summer 2019, 2020), a season of data analysis for Maine Audubon (Winter, 2019-20), and a season in Northern California monitoring mule deer browse (Spring, 2020). I started my Ph.D. at Tufts University this Fall (2020) and will be studying the impacts of global change on bird distributions and community structure at multiple spatial scales; and will be back in Northern Maine for dissertation research a third season of atlasing this coming summer.

Josh Jaeger

(Waterbirds — Spring, 2017).

Since then, I began graduate school at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. I worked on the American Eel Project in March 2018 and as an avian point count technician for WEST Inc. for two summers. As of November 2020, I head to Idaho for a few years.

Kandace Glanville

(Owls — Fall, 2020).

I’m from Columbus, Ohio, and I graduated from Ohio State University in May 2019 with my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Science. My first time birding was about 3-4 years ago, during my second year of undergrad, after taking a birding course at Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie.

Kevin Georg

(Hawks — Spring, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020).

Since working for MSRW, I have birded in Nicaragua and worked as Hawk Counter for Detroit Hawk Watch in the fall of 2019 and 2020.

Kim Strunk (Née Edgington)

(Owls — Spring, Fall 2016).

In 2017, I married Olympic National Park ranger Michael Strunk and moved near Seattle, where he attends computer programming school. I worked with Amazon, hoping to go back to school, obtain a bird banding permit, and research Saw-whet Owls on the Olympic Peninsula as a Master's project.

Krista Botting

(Hawks — Spring, 2021).

I’m from Ionia, Michigan, and I graduated from Alma College in 2018 with my Bachelor’s in Biology and Ecology/Evolution. I’ve previously been a hawk counter at Lehigh Gap Nature Center in Pennsylvania (Fall 2018), at Whitefish Point in Paradise, Michigan (Spring 2019), and at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Minnesota (Fall 2019). I’ve also been a field biologist in New York, and a research assistant while at Alma College. Those projects included nest box monitoring, banding passerines and analyzing their plumage, banding American Kestrels and analyzing their territory preferences and size.

Kyle Wiktor

(Waterbirds — Fall, 2018).

Laura Makielski

(Owls — Spring, 2015).

After leaving, I worked for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, organizing and digitizing old data. In June 2018 I conducted a shorebird nesting study in Barrow, Alaska for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Loren Taylor

(Owls — Spring, 2015).

Since May 2015, I have worked as a Nongame Avian Biologist for the Wildlife Diversity Program of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Here I oversee the monitoring of Peregrine Falcons, American Kestrels, Ospreys, Loggerhead Shrikes, Golden-winged Warblers, and Prothonotary Warblers.

Matthew Hanneman

(Owls — Spring, 2018).

Maycee Hash

(Owls — Fall, 2018, 2019).

After garnering tremendous experience banding owls with MSRW, I was granted a federal bird banding permit, and in 2020 launched a saw-whet owl banding station in northwest California. Migratory owl movement trends in the western US are poorly understood, so I'm very excited to uncover the secrets of these cryptic wee beasties.

Megan Diamond

(Owls — Spring, 2021).

I’m from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, and I graduated from University of Minnesota in December 2017 with my Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. While most of my field work and research has dealt with deer and wolves, I did spend 2 summers in Pellston, Michigan working with the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort, monitoring, handling and banding plover adults and chicks.  I also spent a summer in St. Paul, Minnesota monitoring, handling, processing and banding 3 different gull species for an avian influenza study.

Michael Gordon

(Owls — Fall, 2021).

I'm originally from Michigan, but I live in Boise, ID, obtaining a Master's of Science in Raptor Biology. I graduated from Lake Superior State University in May 2015 with my Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. For my master's thesis, I captured over one thousand barn owls, banded them, took blood samples, made morphometric measurements, and aged them with Pyle's guide. I also led field crews and supervised my undergraduate assistants doing these tasks. In addition, I became familiar with banding station operations by volunteering one day a week for a semester at Intermountain Bird Observatory in Boise, ID, working at the Diurnal Raptor Trapping Station, or checking the mist nets to extract saw-whets at night. I've also worked as a Spotted Owl Field Technician for the UC Davis spotted owl monitoring program in Shaver Lake, CA, as a Research Assistant, doing Michigan osprey research in Houghton Lake, MI.

Nancy Drilling

(Owls — Fall, 2020, Spring, 2021).

I’m originally from Iowa and now live in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. Since getting a Master’s degree in Biology at Illinois State University, I’ve worked on a variety of bird research and survey projects around the U.S., including research on waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and colonial waterbirds. I also did a stint with the Peace Corps in Thailand.

Selena Creed

(Owls — Fall, 2014, 2015).

Since then, I work to safeguard birds and airplane travelers at a major airport. I have captured and relocated numerous raptors, including Snowy Owls.

Oliver Kew

Oliver Kew

(Waterbirds — Spring & Fall, 2022 — 2023).

I’m from Commerce, Michigan, and I graduated from Michigan State University in 2017 with my Bachelor of Science in Integrative Biology – Zoo & Aquarium Science. I’ve previously worked as an Animal Husbandry Technician, where I primarily managed a large private collection of turtles and tortoises, and as a Zoo Keeper Aide, where I became knowledgeable of protocols regarding animal facilities, housing, handling, training, and breeding, including for many native and non-native bird species. I’ve also spent a lot of time volunteering as an “unofficial counter” at the Whitefish Point Waterbird Counts, as well as being a spectator at Hawk Watches at Whitefish Point, Point LaBarbe, and Lake Erie Metroparks. I am committed to helping MSRW collect the data that will further their scientific research of migratory birds, and am excited to help convey to others the importance of the area as a migratory pathway for many species.

Ty Sharrow

(Waterbirds — Fall, 2021).

I’m from Lehighton, PA, and I graduated from Keystone College in 2021 with my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Biology and a minor in Psychology. Previously, I’ve been a PH.D. and Masters Field Research Assistant at Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, IL (Summer 2019). I was responsible for independently conducting avian point counts and a Bird Banding Intern Pocono Avian Research Center Stroudsburg, PA (Summer 2018). I have been an avid bird watcher for all my life, with most of my time birding being spent in Pennsylvania. I have amassed 1,322 checklists on eBird, and I have volunteered for many avian surveys, including Christmas Bird Counts, Winter Raptor Surveys, Big Sits, Nightjar surveys, and Marsh bird Breeding Surveys. I have also personally led multiple bird walks.

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