The 27th Annual Hawks Aloft
the Team That Made It!
by Gail Garber
We did it again! I can't believe this is our 27th quilt! The center of our 2020 quilt was designed by Cynthia Figueroa-McInteer and I designed the remainder. Thanks to advance sewing by my quilting friend Donna Barnitz and me--and some advanced applique by Barb Deshler--the rest of the quilt was completed in just one fun-filled weekend!
We would also like to thank Ed and Mary Chappelle for hosting our event this year.
The Team (L-R): Cynthia Figueroa McInteer, Gail Garber, Vicky Harms, Allison Schacht, Sami Sanborn, Layla Chappelle (the dog), Lizzie Roberts, Mary Chappelle, Evelyn McGarry, Barb Deshler, and Carol Bauer. Standing behing the quilt: Ed Chappelle and Rick Deshler. Not shown: Donna Barnitz, Steve Elkins, and Maggie Stein. We also thank Keith Bauer, who drove over on short notice to take photos for us!
Thank you all! We couldn't do it without your help!
Meet Two of our NMWRA Speakers
Robert Mesta, Coordinator,
Liberty Wildlife Non-Eagle Feather Repository Program
David Mikesic, Director
Navajo Nation Zoological Park
Robert Mesta is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ornithologist. He spent his professional career working to protect, conserve, and recover threatened and endangered North American bird populations. His area of expertise is the recovery of endangered birds of prey. He directed national and international-level programs to recover the California Condor, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and the Masked Bobwhite Quail. From 1999 to 2015 he coordinated the Sonoran Joint Venture, a bi-national bird conservation program between the United States and Mexico. Currently, Robert coordinates the Liberty Wildlife Non-Eagle Feather Repository Program, at this time the only program in the United States permitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accept, hold, and distribute non-eagle feathers to Native Americans for religious and ceremonial purposes.
, originally from Pennsylvania, began his career with the Navajo Nation
Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1994 as an endangered species field zoologist. Some of his favorite work was co-leading a 10-year Golden Eagle study and Ferruginous Hawk population monitoring across the Navajo Nation. In 2010, he switched positions within the department to manage the Navajo Zoo in Window Rock AZ and has been fortunate with many successes in modernizing the facility with his awesome staff. One major accomplishments was the construction and operation of The Navajo Nation Eagle Sanctuary that now houses 17 non-releasable Golden Eagles.
Together, David and Robert will enlighten the audience about the history of feather use in the U.S. and the role of their respective organizations in efforts to reduce poaching.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration is $50. Complete details will be provided upon receipt of registration.
by Maggie Stein,
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Our education program is participating in the third annual New Mexico Super STEM Saturday on February 22, 2020 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. This event is designed to help bring the excitement of science to New Mexico families through unique, hands-on experiences. STEM Saturday attracts families with children of all ages, making science more approachable and understandable. Last year, over 100 organizations and more than 3,000 visitors attended. This year they are anticipating 5,000 attendees.
STEM Saturday has been divided to focus on different overlaying themes: Universities, Coding, Science of Life, Air & Space, Building for the Future, and Innovation. Hawks Aloft was invited to participate in the Science of Life section of the STEM Saturday event.
We are very excited for STEM Saturday as it presents the opportunity to interact with kids and families outside of a typical classroom setting. Our booth will feature a number of hands-on activities which include exploring feathers and falconry equipment, creating “hovering hawks”, and “spot the owl” games. We also will also have three of our education birds present to teach kids all about the science of raptors and the ways our community can protect these species.
Thank you to all of our volunteers who are spending their precious Saturday with Hawks Aloft to teach kids all about science and the importance of our beloved birds!
A Month in Review + Looking Ahead, by Amelia Thompson, Educator
January has been a slow month for me at Hawks Aloft, but that is about to change. We recently received a grant from Avangrid Renewables to deliver Living with the Landscape programming to several elementary schools in Edgewood. I will be working at Route 66 Elementary School this spring, beginning the program this spring and continuing into the fall semester. With the help of Maggie S. and our wonderful education volunteers, I know that we will get it done.
The beginning of January started off with me playing host to Beauty, our Turkey Vulture Avian Ambassador. Beauty is a human imprint, and because Turkey Vultures migrate to warmer climates in the winter and the fact that she has lived inside for most of her life, she often has difficulties in cold weather. We modified her outdoor mews to help with the cold, and she has been faring much better. However, the first week in January saw a big temperature drop and she came to my house.Turkey Vultures are my absolute favorite animal, so I was thrilled to have her, even if it meant covering my entire house in sheets and towels. She was very well behaved, for the most part, until she figured out how to open my iguana’s cage! I quickly blocked access to the cage and my iguana was fairly uninterested in the events. My husband and I enjoyed our evenings watching TV with her and observing her exploring the house during the day as she did her usual vulture things (eating, preening, and practicing flying). It was great fun having her but I was also glad to have my house back in order after she returned to her outdoor flight cage at Gail’s property.
The rest of January has been taken up by attending classes at CNM. I have found that my work through Hawks Aloft has really had a big impact on my teaching. I have been really lucky to have been able to have such a wide variety of teaching opportunities through Hawks Aloft, and I feel that that is given me a big advantage in my education classes because I already have developed my own teaching style and an understanding of how to work with students of many different ages and learning styles. I am looking forward to applying some of the techniques I am learning in my classes to my future work at Hawks Aloft, as well as using my experience at Hawks Aloft to inform my academics at CNM.
Photo of Beauty watching TV by Amelia Thompson
Owls of New Mexico!
We are pleased to introduce our brand new T-shirt, featuring images of our Avian Ambassadors and nearly every single species of owl that might be found in our state. Designed by Scott Lowry, this unique T-shirt is the perfect gift for a loved one during the holidays. After all,
whoooo doesn't love owls?!
The shirt comes in both long and short sleeves. All shirts are $30 and can be ordered on our website or can be picked up at the office. Ladies sizes are available in short sleeves; all long-sleeved shirts are unisex, and we also have youth sizes in short sleeves.
Fantasy Football? How About Fantasy Birding? by Maggie Grimason, Senior Editor
Now that the football season has officially ended on the heels of the Super Bowl, sports enthusiasts and Fantasy Football pros might be turning their minds to preparing their March Madness brackets instead. Yet, there’s another option for birders. That’s right: Fantasy Birding.
Created by self-described “birder and aimless internet hobbyist” Matt Smith for “armchair naturalists of all ages and interest levels,” the online game offers birders from the world over the opportunity to digitally explore new terrain and spot new species. The idea is simple—with information culled from eBird (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s massive citizen science project), where birders submit their sightings, fantasy birders choose their destinations and hope to capture the highest number of species sighted. At the end of the year, the website rounds up the winners, though at any time users can check into to see where they stand.
Fantasy Birding offers a low key way for many to familiarize themselves with birding destinations, species, and their territory at various points in the year. The catch? Just like birders everywhere, you have to get up early and select your destination by 6 am.
Bosque Nesting Raptors:
A Citizen Science Study
Do you love hawks? Are you good with a GPS and a map? How are your scavenger hunting skills?
Hawks Aloft has monitored raptors in the Middle Rio Grande bosque since 2004 (16 years)! Formerly funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, all funding for this study was eliminated in 2019, so we turned to our dedicated volunteers to continue.
Each volunteer is assigned a section of the bosque to monitor about once a week from Mid-March until the end of July. We will have a limited number of areas available that need to be monitored. You will need to possess your own GPS unit and binoculars. If you are interested, please
Image of four nestling Cooper's Hawks by Larry Rimer.
Introducing Our Newest Adventure!
BRAZIL: Wildlife of the Pantanal
& Amazon Rainforest
With Hawks Aloft & Holbrook Travel
November 5 – 14, 2020
Located in west-central Brazil, the Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland and one of the most biodiverse, productive habitats in the Western Hemisphere. It harbors a world-record 82 species or large birds including Hyacinth Macaw, Jabiru, Toco Toucan, Greater Rhea, Scarlet Macaw as well as coatimundi, tapirs, and giant river otters.
Perhaps, however; no other animal is as beautiful and dramatic as the jaguar. Embark on this exceptional adventure providing opportunities for close range observation of abundant wildlife and the majestic jaguar.
We will spend our final days of the trip in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, immersed in the dense tropical forest that is home to the highest concentration of birds species, with over 1,500 described species of rainforest birds. It is home to the Harpy Eagle, Bare-faced Currasow, King Vulture, Hoatzin, Plum-throated Cotinga, Spectacled Owl and much more.
The Amazon is also home to about 430 species of mammal, with more still to be discovered. Among the monkey species that could be seen are: Howler, Spider, Capuchin, Tamarin, Squirrel, Woolly, Uakari, Titi, Marmosets, and Night Monkeys, also called owl monkeys. Of course, aquatic life abounds in this habitat as well as the Pantanal.
- Embark on several boat rides in search of the jaguars that roam freely in the Pantanal
- Venture on outdoor activities to seek out tapids, ocelots, monkeys, Hyacinth Macaws, and mixed species flocks
- Watch for birds and mammals from the Pantanal’s only mobile canopy towers, strategically located near fruiting trees
- Listen to experts to learn more about the biology and conservation of the jaguar and the giant otter
- Journey to the Amazon to observe the wildlife of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet
Only 4 spots remain!
Help support our non-releasable raptors through our Adopt-a-Raptor program. Hawks Aloft houses and cares for 28 permanently disabled raptors (and one corvid!). Our Avian Ambassadors travel throughout the Southwest, helping us to educate the public about how to help protect these beautiful animals. We provide them with top-quality housing, food, and medical care for their entire lives. It costs an average of $2000/mo. just for their food. When you adopt a raptor, you help feed our birds, make home improvements, and provide veterinary care for one avian ambassador of your choice. Prices range from $35-$100 depending on the species.
Click here to Adopt a Raptor
such as Turbo, our adult female Burrowing Owl of unknown age. She was caught in a roof turbine and suffered damage to her neck and wing, hence her name. Photographed here by Larry Rimer. When you adopt a Hawks Aloft raptor you will receive:
- A one-year Hawks Aloft membership
- An Adoption Certificate
- An information sheet about the individual bird you have adopted
- Exclusive access to video updates about your bird
- Your choice of:
A professional 8×10 photo of your bird, or
A stuffed Audubon Bird with realistic vocalizations
(if available for that species)
Support Hawks Aloft by Shopping at Smith's!
Many of you have long been Hawks Aloft supporters, and a good number of you have also been longtime Smith’s shoppers. For those not in the know, the grocery chain has a program that provides a small kick-back quarterly to nonprofits when their supporters link their shopper’s cards to the organization.
The company recently changed their policies regarding the program—so even if you’ve signed up in the past, you may need to do it again! The good news is that it is easy to do.
Either create an account or sign-in to an existing one
Once logged in, click on “Account Summary” on the left sidebar
From there, scroll down to “Inspiring Donations Program” and click “Enroll”
A searchable list will come up, you can either search for “Hawks Aloft” or enter our ID number for the program, GL430
Shop using your card and now that every time you do so, you help out Hawks Aloft!
We appreciate your ongoing support in this, and so many other capacities!
*Check out intakes and thank-you's after the Photographer's Gallery*
Photographers Monthly Gallery
Featuring Tony Thomas
By vocation, Tony Thomas is a general contractor based in Albuquerque, NM. He is the owner of Summit Construction, Inc., a company with a 45 year history of building in New Mexico. His lifelong love of the outdoors has most recently turned into photographing wild birds and animals in their natural environment. Tony and his wife Davedda travel the back roads of the deserts of Southern New Mexico, follow the Rocky Mountains north through the United States, Canada, and on into Alaska, all the way to the coast of the Arctic Ocean.
to visit Tony's website to view more of his amazing images.
- Adult Red-tailed Hawk
- Common Black-Hawk
- Dark morph Ferruginous Hawk
- Light morph adult Ferruginous Hawk
- Harris Hawk
Thank You to our January Donors!
Paul Fleissner, M.D.
Nancy & Bryan Hall
Jean & Robert Hansel
Frank & Linda Martin
Judith & Roy Pearson
Harold & Sally Prezzano
Rio Gallinas School for Ecology and the Arts
Bruce & Anita Sisk
Raptor Rescue Team
Our Veterinarians and Rehabilitators
Acequia Animal Hospital
Kariana Atkinson, DVM
Mary & Ed Chappelle
Linda Contos, DVM
Cottonwood Rehabilitation Center
Desert Willow Wildlife
Eye Care for Animals
Christine Fiorello, DVM
Tim Fitzpatrick, DVM
High Desert Veterinary Care
Ray Hudgell, DVM
Gavin Kennard, DVM, DACVO
Daniel Levenson, DVM
Mike Melloy, DVM
New Mexico Wildlife Center
Bob Peiffer, DVM, PhD
Petroglyph Animal Hospital
Kathleen Ramsay, DVM
Santa Fe Raptor Center
Southwest Veterinary Medical Center
Samantha Uhrig, DVM
VCA West Side
Ventana Animal Clinic
Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico
January 2020 Call Log & Intakes
Cooper's Hawk: Wing fracture
Great Horned Owl: Barbed wire injury
Cooper's Hawk: Wing fracture
Merlin: Wing fracture
Cooper's Hawk: DOA/emaciation
Sharp-shinned Hawk: Hit window
American Crow: Leg issues
Great Horned Owl: Gunshot
Greater Roadrunner: Head trauma
American Kestrel: Head trauma
American Crow: Wing & leg fractures
Great Horned Owl: Electrocution
And Thank You to Our Corporate Donors:
Amazon Smile Foundation
Central New Mexico Audubon Society
Farmers Electric Cooperative
Four Corners Bird Club
Gathering of Nations
Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation
PNM Resources Foundation
Peabody Natural Resources Company
Summit Line Construction
The Verdes Foundation
Wild Birds Unlimited
Wildside Nature Tours
Womack Wealth Management
6715 Eagle Rock Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
Who We Are
Lead Avian Biologist
Project Manager, Taos Gorge Raptor Study
, East Mountain Representative
, Raptor Rescue Dispatcher
Raptor Rescue Coordinator
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Our Board of Directors