Fourth Annual Birds of Prey Photography Workshop!
Gail Garber,
Executive Director

It goes without saying that "a good time was had by all!" As evidenced in these photos and the dramatic image of Idaho, our Swainson's Hawk, taken by Patti Rosin. She later commented that she never thought she would be able to take such a photo! Well done Patti!

It would not have been possible without the gentle guidance of our expert photographers who helped each participant with their camera settings, angles, backdrops, or the lights or shadows that fell on one of the 13 raptors that also made this event such a success. We thank our experts, Keith Bauer, Doug Brown, Kristin Brown, and Larry Rimer. They teach from the heart, helping everyone from beginners with point and shoot cameras to those with fancy lenses.

Equally important were the volunteers that helped to display the birds: Chellye Porter, Allison Schacht, and Maggie Stein, who not only held the birds but also shared their individual stories.

Finally, thank you Carol Bauer, who spent her time taking "people" pictures, something that is often overlooked. All images in the collage were taken by Carol.

Thank you all!

Building a Better Birdhouse
by Maggie Stein,
Education & Outreach Coordinator

Living with the Landscape (LWL) is in full swing! The schools participating this year are Bellehaven, Pajarito, Navajo, and Armijo Elementary Schools. Thank you PNM Foundation for fully funding the yearlong program! 

A major aspect of the LWL program is the completion of a conservation project. School projects range from planting native plant species to installing recycle bins, or even doing litter removal. The fifth-graders complete the conservation project, which allows them to lead efforts to improve their school campus for wildlife and to set a positive example for younger students.

This year, the fifth-graders are creating new bird habitats by building bird houses. These bird houses are either hung up around the school or at the student’s homes. Each student assembles and paints their own bird house, and then decides on the location that will best be utilized by birds. The participating schools also receive a bird feeder to install on campus! The feeders and bird seed are donated by Wild Birds Unlimited.

Bellehaven Elementary fifth-graders just completed their project. We all had so much fun creating these bird homes! Our project day at Bellehaven was particularly exciting because the students got to meet Jemez, our permanently injured, non-releasable Mexican Spotted Owl. This is a federally listed threatened species and habitat fragmentation is cited as one of the leading causes. Meeting Jemez led to an interesting discussion about how increasing the songbird population could help raptor species like the Mexican Spotted Owl.

The next conservation project is at Pajarito Elementary in January. We are already looking forward to it! 

A huge thanks to our volunteer education assistants that help with every program: Mary Bruesch, Evelyn McGarry, Patti Rosin, and Amelia Thompson!  

Students at Bellehaven Elementary built and painted their own birdhouses as part of the school's conservation project. All images by Maggie Stein.

A Look Back at Winter 2019
by Trevor Fetz, Lead Avian Biologist

I have started analyzing data from 2019 for the Middle Rio Grande Songbird Study (MRGSS). I still don't have all the data from last summer, but I have done some analyses with the winter 2019 data. As you may recall, last winter was colder and wetter than most winters over the past decade or so. In fact, it was the wettest winter in the middle Rio Grande area since at least 2006. But, you also may recall that in 2018 there essentially was no winter--it was warm and almost completely dry throughout most of New Mexico, as drought conditions that began in early fall of 2017 carried on through much of 2018. Winter bird numbers in the bosque tend to reflect conditions present the previous year, as they are substantially impacted by conditions present during the previous breeding season. Such was the case with bosque bird numbers in winter 2019.

Although we surveyed the same sites the same number of times during both winter 2018 and winter 2019, we had 3,473 fewer total bird detections in winter 2019 than 2018. In contrast, among the 18 habitat types surveyed during both winters, avian density was actually higher in 2019 than 2018 in nine of those habitats, lower in eight habitats and exactly the same in one habitat. But, 20 of the transects we survey incorporate multiple habitats. Among the 20 mixed habitat transects, 17 had a lower density in winter 2019 with only three having a higher density.

Among individual bird species, 70 species were detected in lower numbers in winter 2019 than 2018, 42 species were detected in higher numbers in 2019 and five were detected the same number of times during both winters. The species showing the largest decreases from winter 2018 to winter 2019 were Song Sparrow (-1,555), White-crowned Sparrow (-1,409), American Robin (-1,031), Steller's Jay (-627), and Dark-eyed Junco (-303). The species showing the largest increases from winter 2018 to winter 2019 were Red-winged Blackbird (+3,048), House Finch (+588), European Starling (+157), Eastern Bluebird (+116), and Western Bluebird (+99).

The winter 2020 field season will get underway in December. With the wet conditions from last winter helping to facilitate better breeding conditions last summer throughout much of the state, we are hoping to document improved bird numbers this winter.

Song Sparrow image by Tony Giancola

T-shirt Fire Sale!
OK! So there wasn't a fire, thankfully! We have inventory that we need to sell and you can get a great deal on some of our past-year T-shirts – all on sale for $15 each…that’s half off!
We have cream-colored shirts in long and short sleeve.
Women's (runs small) M,L, and XL. 
Men’s: 2XL and 3XL only. 
Women’s: L and XL
Men’s: 2X
25th Anniversary shirts (Teal)
Short Sleeve:
Women’s XL, 2XL, and 3XL
25 th Anniversary shirts (Sky Blue)
Short Sleeve:
Men's: M, L, XL, 2XL

Get them while you can!
A flat $8 shipping fee will be required, BUT, we will throw in a free Hawks Aloft Coffee mug! You can't beat that!
If you would like to order any of these, give us a call at 505-828-9455 (or stop by the office between 9 am - 1 pm weekdays. Save on shipping). 

You can also send us an email at .
Happy Shopping!
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.

Trip Highlights
  • 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 6 spots remain!

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.

The Making of Aloft , by Maggie Grimason, Senior Editor

Over the course of the summer and fall, the staff of Hawks Aloft, along with dedicated volunteers, have put our minds to reflecting on the work accomplished in the last year, as well as broader trends in conservation. To what end? The creation of yet another issue of our annual journal, Aloft.

We’ve been making this full-color, often 30+ page glossy print publication for years. We see a lot of value in synthesizing the results of our research for a wide audience, as well as distilling the progress we’ve made in education and collaboration into a few thousand words. It’s also a great opportunity to celebrate our volunteers who make all of this possible. From example, this year, check out a brief interview with Evelyn McGarry, 2019’s “New Mexico Birder.” We also dedicated a few pages to examining topics outside of our organization, but nevertheless have impact on our mission; for example, the environmental policies of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration.

We've finalized the layout (with our star designer Steve Elkins) and photos (thank you to our team of photographs who donate their photographs!), have completed edits, and are sending it to print Keep an eye out for the final version in November, available to all members! Not a member yet? Find information about becoming one here

Photo by Larry Rimer

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 Ferrug, our 24-year-old Ferruginous Hawk, photographed here by Keith Bauer. 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  
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!
*Check out intakes and thank-you's after the Photographer's Gallery*
Photographers Monthly Gallery
Dennis Chamberlain

Dennis is a Certified Professional Photographer, a Master Photographer, and a Master Artist, as well as president of the Corrales Bosque Gallery. He is the Professional Photographers Association of New Mexico Photographer of the Year for 2019. He specializes in Southwestern art photography, and shows his work at the Belle of the West Gallery in Madrid, the Corrales Bosque Gallery, the Range in Bernalillo, and at Weems Gallery in Albuquerque.  His website is

His next class is in Corrales on December 7. See his website for more details.

As the skies above have been filled with the calls of Sandhill Cranes, our collective thoughts turn toward these and other wintering species. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge makes a wonderful destination in the coming months to view these amazing birds.

Four of Dennis' five images are Sandhill Cranes, while the other is a Great Blue Heron.
Thank You to our October Donors!

Charles Brandt
Lorna Brau
Heather Brent
Niels Chapman
Michael Hartshorne
Virginia McQueen
Hannelore Nunn
Miguel Palaviccini
Allison Schacht
Cat Schladweiler

Raptor Rescue Team

Nirankar Ambriz
Victoria Ambriz
Daniel Archuleta
Mary Bruesch
Ed Chappelle
Mary Chappelle
Joanne Dahringer
Shannon Harrison
Ty Horak
Denise Inight
Arlette Miller
Evelyn McGarry
Julie Morales
Eliane Notah
Chellye Porter
Amanda Rael
Larry Rimer
James Robinson
Anita Sisk
Bruce Sisk
Kris Thackrah
Davedda Thomas
Tony Thomas
Earl Williams
Frank Wilson
Our Veterinarians and Rehabilitators

Kariana Atkinson, DVM

Mary & Ed Chappelle

Linda Contos, DVM

Cottonwood Rehabilitation Center

Desert Willow Wildlife
Rehabilitation Center

Eye Care for Animals

Tim Fitzpatrick, DVM

High Desert Veterinary Care

Ray Hudgell, DVM

Gavin Kennard, DVM, DACVO

Daniel Levenson, DVM

Sherry McDaniel

Mike Melloy, DVM

Lisa Morgan

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

Ventana Animal Clinic

Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico

October 2019 Call Log & Intakes

Cooper's Hawk - Window strike (head trauma)

Red-tailed Hawk - Electrocution

Red-tailed Hawk - Head trauma

Turkey Vulture - Wet (unable to fly)

American White Pelican - Hit by car (unable to fly)

Cooper's Hawk - Right wing injury

Cooper's Hawk - Window strike (DOA)

Great Horned Owl - Wing injury

Cooper's Hawk - Hit by car

Great Horned Owl - Hit by car

Western Screech Owl - Head trauma

American Kestrel - Hit by car

Great Horned Owl - Disease (Trichomonas)

Cooper's Hawk - Hit by car

Black-crowned Night-Heron - wing & foot injuries

And Thank You to Our Corporate Donors:
Amazon Smile Foundation
Avangrid Renewables
Benevitty Fund
The Binky Foundation
Central New Mexico Audubon Society
Charles Schwab
Coca-Cola Foundation
Farmers Electric Cooperative
Four Corners Bird Club
Gathering of Nations
Holbrook Travel
Intel Corporation 
Kroger Company
Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation
McFarland Cascade
Nichols Ranch
PNM Resources Foundation
Peabody Natural Resources Company
Sonepar USA
Summit Construction
Summit Line Construction
Tetra Tech
The Verdes Foundation
Wild Birds Unlimited
Wildside Nature Tours
Womack Wealth Management
Who We Are

Gail Garber, Executive Director
Trevor Fetz, Lead Avian Biologist
David Buckley, Avian Surveyor
Maggie Grimason, Senior Editor
Sue Harrelson, Project Manager, Taos Gorge Raptor Study
Evelyn McGarry , East Mountain Representative
Arlette Miller , Raptor Rescue Dispatcher
Lisa Morgan, Raptor Rescue Coordinator
Jill Morris, Office Manager
John Stanek, Avian Surveyor
Maggie Stein, Education and Outreach Coordinator
Amelia Thompson , Educator

Our Board of Directors

Alwyn VanderWalt Chair

Mary Chappelle, Vice-chair

Terry Edwards, Treasurer

Sarah Beans , Secretary

Dagny Cosby, Board Member

Carter Cherry, Board Member