New Plans for the New Year, by Gail Garber, Executive Director

It's hard to believe, but we will soon be 25 years old! Wow! I vividly remember our humble beginnings when we gathered around my little kitchen table to plan for the future of Hawks Aloft! We worked out of my home for the first six years, before moving to our current office in 2000. With 1.5 employees, full-time educator, Helen Haskell, and myself as the half time employee and a budget of under $20,000, our survival was tenuous indeed. Thankfully, Jerry and Sally Mayeux bankrolled the needs of the nestling organization, along with Blue Sky Natural Beverage Company and the Frost Foundation.

Save the Date!
Hawks Aloft 25th Anniversary Gala
"Falcon Fiesta"
September 15, 2018
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

This year's event will feature a falconry demonstration with live, free-flying raptors, courtesy of the NM Falconer's Association, plus many more exciting activities. Stay tuned!

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon, image by Kristin Brown.
New Mexico Wildlife Rehabilitators' Alliance - A Collaborative Endeavor

Save the Dates!

April 6 - 8, 2018
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

"We work to conserve indigenous wild birds and their habitat through avian research, conservation education, raptor rescue, and cooperation with other organizations." That's our mission statement and, to this end, we have established, and continue to participate in several collaborative working groups in New Mexico.

Our newest endeavor is the New Mexico Wildlife Rehabilitators' Alliance, an effort to develop statewide participation among rehabilitators to improve rescue, transport, and rehabilitation of injured wildlife in New Mexico by building a statewide network. New Mexico is a large state with a small population. Since the establishment of the Raptor Rescue Hotline in 2014, word has spread, generating hundreds of calls for rescues annually. Between our initiative's first year in 2013 and the end of 2016, our intakes increased 144%, necessitating the creation of further structure and collaboration. This alliance will build a statewide network of rescuers to handle calls, dispatch rescuers, and more efficiently provide a demonstrably needed public service. 

Current partners include: Avangrid Renewables, Cottonwood Rehabilitation, Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, On a Wing and a Prayer, PNM Resources, Santa Fe Raptor Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico, as well as numerous veterinarians, and interested individuals.

  • IWRC Basic Skills Class (Friday & Saturday)
  • IWRC Advanced Pain and Wound Management Class (Sunday)
  • One-day symposium to address latest technology and industry efforts to reduce
impacts to wildlife, medical advances, falconry techniques for conditioning, online
reporting software, and more.
  • Evening Meet and Greet at the Cultural Center, including light food.

  • Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

  • Build collaboration
  •  Strengthen communication
  • Share knowledge
  •  Improve response
  • Promote partnerships

Stay tuned for additional details, costs, and registration information. IWRC class registrations will open by February 1, 2018.

Questions? Contact Gail or Katrina. 
No Rest for the Rescuers, by Katrina Hucks, Naturalist and Raptor Rescue Coordinator

December was really busy! Intakes and calls about injured birds have included many species–Great Horned Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Sandhill Crane and more. We also had a chance to hear from the Raptor Rescue Team about opportunities to improve on raptor rescue as we work to build the New Mexico Wildlife Rehabilitators Alliance.

I’ve also had some wonderful opportunities to shadow some of New Mexico’s best resources for injured animals–Dr. Kathleen Ramsay and Dr. Kari Atkinson. In early December, I took four birds (two Cooper’s Hawks, a Northern Saw-whet Owl, and a Great Horned Owl) to Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic and watched Dr. Ramsay do thorough examinations. A couple of weeks later, one of the Cooper’s Hawks, a first year banded male, was ready to release. I met up with Brian Millsap, National Raptor Coordinator for the USFWS and a leader on the urban Cooper’s Hawk project in Albuquerque, at the site where this Cooper’s Hawk raised a nest with four young this year. He flew right out of the box and into the tree where Brian often sees him. He sat in that tree and ruffled his feathers, looking very happy to be out of captivity and back in his territory. It was neat to see a bird through from rescue to release back into the wild!

Above, a Great Horned Owl receives an examination by Dr. Kathleen Ramsay. Image by Katrina Hucks.

And, The Winner Is: Alice Jones!

Congratulations to Alice Jones, winner of the 2017 Hawks Aloft Raffle Quilt. Alice purchased her ticket at the Lavender Festival in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque!

She and husband, Russ, picked up the quilt at our office.
Hawks Aloft Docent Training

Join our dynamic team of people, passionate about indigenous wild birds and conservation! Attend the Hawks Aloft Docent Program Orientation. This annual informative session is required for anyone wishing to volunteer and attend future training sessions.

Volunteers are vital to our mission. We need help in the following areas:

Office Assistance

Attend this informative session to learn all about Hawks Aloft and specific opportunities available to you. You must register by February 10th to reserve your spot. Space is limited! Each participant will receive an informational packet prior to the orientation which will include an agenda, volunteer application, and waiver; all items must be printed out and reviewed before attending the orientation.

Saturday, February 17th
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Bachechi Open Space

Please call 828-9455 to reserve your space, or email Julia .
Steller's Jays Invade the Bosque, by Trevor Fetz, Lead Avian Biologist

December brought the beginning of the 2018 winter field season for the Middle Rio Grande Songbird Study (MRGSS). And, after encountering Steller's Jays at lower elevations throughout the fall, the anticipation of their presence in the bosque this winter. During the first 14 years of the MRGSS, we only documented Steller's Jays during two winters: 2008 and 2014. The species only drops down from higher elevation coniferous forests when food resources are lacking. That appears to be what happened this year. And, the issue was not limited to central New Mexico, as I observed Steller's Jays along the Rio Grande in El Paso during November. This Steller's Jay irruption in the bosque is much larger than any previous winter. Our detections through December have already surpassed what we documented during all of winter 2014 and are closing in on what we documented in 2008.

Mountain Chickadee detections also were much higher than normal in December. Mountain Chickadee does regularly visit the bosque, but not in the numbers we have documented so far this winter. With poor conifer cone crops likely playing a key role in the presence of large numbers of Steller's Jays and Mountain Chickadees in the bosque this winter, two other species that also could be impacted and irrupt in the bosque are Cassin's Finch and Pine Siskin. We did document some Pine Siskin during December, but not in particularly large numbers as some siskin show up in the bosque during most winters. We did not document any Cassin's Finch in December. My most unusual sighting during December was a pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets in a mixed-species foraging flock working through a dense Russian olive stand south of Belen. It was our first detection of Golden-crowned Kinglets during MRGSS surveys since 2005.

Steller's Jay, image by David Powell.

Adopt-A-Raptor Today!
Help support our non-releasable raptors through our Adopt-a-Raptor program. Hawks Aloft houses and cares for 25 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 Flame, our very tiny Flammulated Owl, 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  

Another Great Year, by Julia Davis, Education Coordinator

It is the time of year where we look back at all the wonderful things 2017 produced and look forward to 2018. Students at Albuquerque's public schools went on a nice long break, which meant I had about three weeks of office time to look forward to! I used my time to pull together information for our annual reports.

Some data I reviewed was information about volunteer involvement within the education program and raptor mews cleaning. We are fortunate to have a whole crew of dedicated volunteers who help with all aspects of Hawks Aloft. And this is the time of year when we can welcome more volunteers!

Volunteer, Arlette Miller, works with our educational Mexican Spotted Owl.
Raptor Handling Class

Raptor Handling classes are the perfect time to hone your raptor handling skills. Get to experience one-on-one time with various educational birds, learn their personal stories, and the biology of their species. Become one of our 'expert' handlers at outreach events.
Raptor Handling Class:
Saturday, February 3
10:00 a.m. - Noon
At the Hawks Aloft Office

Saturday, March 17
10:00 a.m. - Noon
At the Hawks Aloft Office

No walk-ins allowed, as we plan the agenda and birds according to registrations and staff availability. Please call 505-828-9455 to reserve your space in the class, or e-mail Julia
Wildlife Survive Bitter Cold, by Maggie Grimason, Senior Editor and Educator

When I flew back to Albuquerque from my home state of Indiana, the thermostat upon landing read somewhere in the mid-50's, a far cry from the -10 to 20 degree temperatures and endless shower of snowflakes that had descended on the Midwest for the preceding week.

In Indiana, despite the extreme cold, I heard coyotes howl in the night, squirrels race about when the sun was highest, and saw crows roosting on electrical wires. Among the ingenious ways that animals stay warm during bitter cold is migration, which of course, means they leave the cold behind them entirely (a smart move, in my opinion). Some creatures like mice and voles use the snow to their advantage, by create tunnels and burrows that shelter them and provide protection from the eyes of predators. Possums, who don't hibernate, stay within their shelters as long as possible, and may even begin to venture out during the day for food, instead of their typical nighttime prowls. Then, there's the Black-capped Chickadee, a non-migratory species found nearly everywhere in the United States who remain active as much as possible, but during rest intervals enter a state of "regulated hypothermia," wherein their body temperature falls as much as 15 degrees. In this way, the bird can save up to 25% of their energy reserves.

Whether you're spending the cold months in a hibernation of sorts, or perhaps snow birding your way to somewhere warm, a new appreciation can be extended to nature during wintertime, and all the clever ways in which animals manage to survive.

Black-capped Chickadee photo by David Powell
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.

1)      Go to Smith's Foods
2)      Either create an account or sign-in to an existing one
3)      Once logged in, click on “Account Summary” on the left sidebar
4)      From there, scroll down to “Inspiring Donations Program” and click “Enroll”
5)      A searchable list will come up, you can either search for “Hawks Aloft” or enter our ID number for the program, GL430
6)      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!
Guatemala: Birding the Highlands and Lake Atitlán
with Hawks Aloft and Holbrook Travel
January 26 – February 5, 2019
Crested Caracara, image by Kristin Brown

Guatemala is a richly diverse cultural center and a lush and vibrant paradise for birders. On this 10-day journey, you'll have the chance to explore a variety of habitats, seek out rare and endemic species, and meet with locals who are part of the Audubon bird-tourism initiative in Santiago Atitlán, a hub of Maya culture.

Here, at high elevations in the heart of Central America, Hawks Aloft is partnering with Holbrook Travel and Flyway Expeditions to bring our friends an experience like no other. We’ll seek out rare and native species in this region of Guatemala, which is nestled in the middle of one of the world’s prime migratory corridors. Birders will also have the opportunity to connect with locals who care about conservation through Audubon’s bird-tourism initiative, Santiago Atitlán. A portion of the proceeds of this excursion will be donated to conservation efforts in Guatemala.
See a detailed description on our website , or check out a full itinerary and register for this epic trip on Holbrook Travel’s website . We can’t wait to experience Guatemala with you!
*Check out an upcoming calendar of events, as well as thank-you's after the Photographer's Gallery*
Photographers Monthly Gallery - Alan Murphy

Alan is a full-time professional bird photographer and leads bird photography workshops all over North America and abroad.

Alan also has numerous eBooks and Videos that teach his field techniques and post processing:

To see more of Alan's work:

Belted Kingfisher: A female Belted Kingfisher ascends from her dive with a small fish. 
I spent a few years working on getting this image. (Many failed attempts) Using a shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second, I was able to not only freeze the bird but the water splashes as well.

Crested Caracara's: Two adult Crested Caracaras fight over their food exploding into the air in mid battle. During a workshop in South Texas, we shoot from a sunken ground level blind that gives this very intimate perspective of their behavior.

Northern Flicker: A Western Red-shafted Norther Flicker approaches his nest hole. 
During a workshop in British Columbia, Canada, we set up our lens on an active nest hole. We pre-focused on a spot in front of the nest hole and fired the cameras when we saw the bird fly in capturing the hard to see under-wing color.

Northern Harrier: A migrating Northern Harrier does a full bank in morning light. 
When Harriers fly over their hunting ground, they will rotate in lightning speed if they see prey in the grass. This posture of fanned tail and full forward wings only lasts a fraction of a second. Photographed on the Upper Texas Coast during Hawk migration.

Upcoming Events - Please Join Us!
 Wednesday, January 10 
Mountain View Elementary School 
8 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Wednesday, January 17 
Bel-Air Elementary School 
9 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Thursday, January 18 
Lowell Elementary School 
9:15 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Saturday, January 20 
Friends of the Valle de Oro Annual Meeting 
Time TBD 
Education Outreach 
Tuesday, January 23 
Lowell Elementary School 
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Wednesday, January 24 
Mountain View Elementary School 
8:30 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Tuesday, January 30 
Lowell Elementary School 
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Wednesday, January 31 
Bel-Air Elementary School 
9 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Wednesday, January 31 
Lowell Elementary School 
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Tuesday, February 6 
Lowell Elementary School 
10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Wednesday, February 7 
Mountain View Elementary School 
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
Living with the Landscape 
Saturday, February 10 
Wild Birds Unlimited Albuquerque 
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
Community Outreach Booth
Thank you to our December Donors!

Nancy Bowsher
Jeff & Louise Bradley
Charles J Brandt
Kay & Jack Burgess
Niels Chapman
Patricia Cummings
David Dewitt
Linda Dilisio
Frank Dobrushken
Carol Emerson
Karen Garcia
Dana & Marion Gebel
Janet Harris
Michael Crooks & Lida Hartshorne
Joan Hashimoto
Anita Holtz
Charles & Sherri Karaian
Dean Klassy
Rebecca Kraimer
Laura Kuster
Laurence H. Lattman
Leonard Nelson
Bonnie Long
Douglas Maahs
Molly & Richard Madden
Janet Mathews
Nichols Ranch
Dave Parsons
Judith Pearson
David & Sandra Powell
Beverly J Quinlan
Brad Raisher
Kathleen Ramsay
Hildegard Reiser
Ann M. Rhodes
Rhonda R. Rivera
Donna Royer
Carolyn 'Sam' Sanborn
Scott & Paula Scherbroeck
Sharlene & Bruce Short
Bari Lee Silver
Marguerite Stacy
Brad Stamm
Barbara Stewart-Hager
Susan Stiger
Virginia Sunderland
Ronald Thomas
Eliot Treme
Mona Trempe
Carol Troeller
Stephen Vender
Bethany Viens
Ronald Villiotti
Reuben Weisz

December's Rescue Intakes

Great Horned Owl – trapped in chicken coop; released

Cooper’s Hawk – head trauma; released after care

Cooper’s Hawk – caught in chicken coop; possible avian pox

Great Horned Owl – possible electrocution; not flying

Hermit Thrush – unrepairable leg fracture

Western Screech-Owl – trapped in screened-in porch; possible retinal detachment

Sharp-shinned Hawk – failure to thrive

American Crow – injured under wing

Sharp-shinned Hawk – window strike; wing fractures

Golden Eagle – head trauma and bruising

Northern Saw-whet Owl – found on side of road, unable to fly

Red-tailed Hawk – injured leg

Great Horned Owl – caught on barbed wire fence

We thank all of our rescuers who donate their time and mileage to ensure that these birds are delivered to the best facility for their care. To inquire about the status of an individual bird, please contact Katrina.
Our Veterinarians and Rehabilitators

Kariana Atkinson, DVM

Linda Contos, DVM

Cottonwood Rehabilitation Center

Mikal Deese, A Wing and a Prayer

Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Eye Care for Animals

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

Sammue Uhrig, DVM

Ventana Animal Clinic

Raptor Rescue Team

Nirankar Ambriz
Donna Borowsky
Sophia Borowsky
Charles Cummings
Julia Davis
Mikal Deese
Tim Florence
Maggie Grimason
Bill Houston
Kaiti King
Jeannine Kinzer
Dean Klassy
Maurice Mackey
Arlette Miller
Lisa Morgan
Chellye Porter
Larry Rimer
Emiliano Salazar
Amanda Schluter
Anita Sisk
Sue Small
Mary Smith

Field Survey Teams

Amanda Schluter
Jeannine Kinzer
Bob Kipp
Everett Ogilivie
Larry Rimer
Tom Ryan
Wendy Brown
Ed Clark
Charles Cummings
Vicki Dern
Trevor Fetz
Gail Garber
Fred Hashimoto
Joan Hashimoto
Kay Jackson
Maurice Mackey
Arlette Miller
Dave Parson
Chellye Porter
Renee Robillard
Allison Schacht
Diana Schlies
Mary Smith
Mary Walsh
Christie Wilcox
Chuck Brandt
Mary Bruesch
Ed Chappelle
Gill Clarke
Roger Grimshaw
Jerry Hobart
Bonnie Long
Donna Royer
Susan Russo
Sam Sanborn
Martin Schelble
Steve Youtsey
Education and Outreach

Sophia Borowsky
David Buckley
Chuck Brandt
Mary Bruesch
Ruth Burstrom
Ed Chappelle
Mary Chappelle
Niels Chapman
Dagny Cosby
Charles Cummings
Rebecca Ezechukwu
Tim Florence
Angela Green
Ava Gutierrez
Bryan and Nancy Hall
Jerry Hobart
Bill Houston
Jennifer Jeffery
Karen Jeffery
Karen Kennedy
Dean Klassy
Kaitlyn King
Jeannine Kinzer
Robert Kipp
Molly Lord
Maurice Mackey
Evelyn McGarry
Arlette Miller
Chellye Porter
Marnie Rehn
Elizabeth Roberts
Dianne Rossbach
Allison Schacht
Rebecca Szymanski
Bruce Sisk
Anita Sisk
Sue Small
Cindy Treme
Who We Are

Gail Garber, Executive Director
Trevor Fetz, Lead Avian Biologist
Julia Davis, Education Coordinator
Angela Green, Office Manager
Maggie Grimason, Senior Editor
Katrina Hucks, Field Technician and Raptor Rescue Coordinator
Everett Oglivie, Statistician
Amanda Schluter, Field Biologist
Our Board of Directors

Carter Cherry, Chair
Mary Chappelle, Treasurer
Terry Edwards, Director
Alwyn VanDerwalt , Director
Jim Findley, Emeritus