Hawkwatch International, Inc.

Conserving Raptors and Our Shared Environment

aka HawkWatch International   |   Salt Lake City, UT   |  http://www.hawkwatch.org

Mission

HawkWatch International's mission is to conserve the environment through education, long-term monitoring, and scientific research on raptors as indicators of ecosystem health.

Ruling year info

1988

Executive Director

Nikki Wayment

Main address

2240 South 900 East

Salt Lake City, UT 84106 USA

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EIN

85-0358519

NTEE code info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Raptor Migration

For scientists, migration serves as the most efficient time to keep tabs on overall population numbers and see if a particular species may be in peril. To this end, HWI has been conducting raptor migration research in the American West for more than 30 years, utilizing our long-term data to work with wildlife managers on conservation plans.

The primary objective of these efforts is to track long-term population trends of diurnal raptors throughout primarily western North America. The information gathered enables us to better understand the life histories, ecology, status, and conservation needs of raptor populations in North America. Raptors feed atop food pyramids, inhabit most ecosystems, occupy large home ranges, and are sensitive to environmental contamination and other human disturbances. Therefore, they serve as important biological indicators of ecosystem health. Moreover, due to the remoteness and widespread distribution of most raptor populations, migration counts likely represent the most cost-effective and efficient method for monitoring the regional status and trends of multiple raptor species.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Population data collected by HawkWatch International (HWI), and corroborated by other researchers, indicate long-term declines of American Kestrel populations in regions across the nation. The cause(s) have yet to be determined, but potential factors include land-use change, predation, contaminants, and loss of/competition for nesting cavities. Each spring, HWI staff and volunteers monitor a growing network of Kestrel nest boxes located in various habitat types along the Wasatch Front, including wildland areas of intact native shoreline or shrub-steppe, agricultural areas, urbanizing areas transitioning from agriculture or wildland, and heavily developed areas. The data we collect from these monitoring efforts will give us a glimpse into landscape-specific reproduction and survival of the American Kestrel, which may help explain the reasons behind declines.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Short-eared Owl primarily relies on large, intact native grasslands for survival, but is also found in wetland, shrubland, tundra, and agricultural habitats. A highly nomadic species, Short-eared Owl population densities are incredibly variable and track outbreaks of their primary prey: voles. Their reliance on habitats with little tree cover means they are almost exclusively ground nesters. Due to their nomadic nature and cryptic habits, comparatively little is known about this geographically widespread but uncommon raptor.

HWI staff, professional volunteers, and citizen scientists conduct spring surveys in March and April, taking advantage of the unique courtship flight behavior of Short-eared Owls that makes them particularly visible during this time of year.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Cavity nesting species, including small owls, play important roles in many ecosystems. Many rely upon other animals (woodpeckers) or processes (rot and decay) to create the cavities that they shelter and breed in. Despite being quite popular at the moment in popular culture, very little information exists on the breeding ecology and habitat relationships of many small owl species. In fact, many small forest owl species are listed as ‘Species of Greatest Conservation Need’ in the State Wildlife Action Plans of many western U.S. states.

HawkWatch International is partnering with the Earthwatch Institute to fill information gaps regarding the natural history of some owl species in two exciting locations in the western U.S.: The Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona and the Wasatch Mountains in northern Utah.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Vulture populations have drastically declined over the past three decades. They are now the world’s most threatened group of birds with 73% of species around the world vulnerable to extinction and 77% experiencing population declines. The situation is particularly dire in Africa where four species of vulture are listed as Critically Endangered; another three species are Endangered, and one is Near Threatened.

HawkWatch International partnered with the University of Utah in 2017 to study and conserve vulture populations in the Horn of Africa. We will work primarily in Ethiopia, a country that has the most diverse and abundant vulture community in the world and which is a critically important location to target research and conservation actions. All seven vulture species found in Ethiopia are threatened with extinction.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Raptor Biology Through the Seasons: Fall Migration, Winter Survival, and Spring Nesting is an informal science education program that travels to schools across Utah. This STEM-based program aligns with Utah Core Standards and biology curriculum, and is the only program in the state that targets high school biology classes with live raptor presentations. It is also unique in that it integrates math and science teaching into real world examples by using HWI’s raptor research and migration data as the main focal point.

Our Raptor Ambassadors (non-releasable, education birds) are taken into classrooms to engage students in discussions about raptor ecology, migration, evolution and adaptations, predator-prey relations, data analysis and the role raptors play as indicators of overall ecosystem health. The program also includes a hands-on migration data analysis activity that encourages critical thinking about what data tell us, such as how to compare variables to make inferences or how to compare numerical and categorical data to evaluate correlation. Finally, each of our birds have a conservation lesson to share with students about how they came to live in captivity and what we can do to protect them.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1. To conduct standardized, annual fall migration counts on raptors throughout the western U.S. to keep tabs on population health; analyze the data against seasonal trends and long-term averages; share the data with land and wildlife managers, stakeholders and the general public; and work with state and federal wildlife officials in conservation planning. Ultimately, we want to prevent any raptor species from reaching the endangered species list, and address conservation needs of population dives before it reaches a critical stage.

2. Conduct research throughout the raptor lifecycle--spring nesting studies and wintering studies--to more holistically conserve raptors and their habitats by tracking nesting success rates and resource needs and use. By better understanding raptor needs throughout their lifecycle, we are well positioned to take conservation steps and research when threats affect raptor species.

3. Provide education and outreach programs to schools and the general public to teach about raptors in our ecosystem, and instill appreciation for the natural world. An environmentally literate society is key to producing policy that protects our wildlife and public lands, while allowing for smart development for human needs. Outreach programs reach thousands of individuals and students each year, and include raptor education programs, outdoor field trips, citizen science volunteer programs, and curriculum-based school programs that use migration data to teach science and math concepts.

4. To serve as a intermediary organization that brings agencies and stakeholders together to address raptor and avian conservation issues, and development comprehensive protection plans for wildlife that cross multiple state and country borders. These efforts bring leaders to the table to share best practices, prevent duplication and resource waste, and keep information flowing between involved parties.

1. HWI will conduct annual migration research at 8 sites across the western U.S. and Gulf Coast region to track migration ecology and population health within the Pacific and Western Continental Flyways. HWI holds the largest data sets of migratory raptors in this region, and is poised to continue it's monitoring efforts to provide the critical and necessary data required for sound wildlife protection planning. Each year the migration sites attract an abundance of visitors who learn about raptors and the conservation needs of the species. HWI promote visitation to the sites for this reason, coordinates festivals at several of the sites with partners, and coordinates guided field trips for groups throughout the migration season.

2. HWI will work with partners in monitoring the states of current and new threats raptors face, and will help to mitigate threats that pose significant displacement or mortality rates. Citizen science projects allow HWI to attract a broad base of volunteers to help with spring and winter studies, increasing the size of our study area and the amount of data collected for on-going monitoring. Volunteers are engaged in HWI's work and learn about field research, ultimately fostering a passion for wildlife and our shared environment.

3. HWI partners with dozens of community centers, libraries, schools, and other businesses and organizations to provide education programs, which include use of non-releasable education birds that provide individuals with the opportunity to witness a raptor up-close. Through a grant provided by the Utah State Office of Education, HWI is providing a Raptor Biology program to every high school biology class in the state. These informal science and math education programs include lesson plans and exercises that are able to be replicated in other schools throughout the country.

HWI has been a leader in raptor research and conservation in the western U.S. for more than 30 years. Indeed, HWI was the first organization to begin monitoring raptor migrations in this part of the country, and currently holds more data on western raptor migrations than anyone else. HWI stays involved with the Raptor Research Foundation and the Hawk Migration Association of North American, two of the foremost leading raptor institutions in the country. HWI has a long history of partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Park Service, and state wildlife offices in many states. Through a partnership with the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA), Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (HMS), HawkWatch International (HWI), and Bird Studies Canada (BSC), with support from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, HWI helped build the Raptor Population Index (www.rpi-project.com). The RPI project houses migration data from all partners, and allows public access to view population trends and pull statistical graphs from the various migration sites; it has helped open up access to migration data that is easily accessible to anyone interested parties. HWI received a prestigious grant in 2011 from the USFWS Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act to use our migration data, conduct ground-truthing research, and build predictive map models that will accurately identify remote migration corridors used by migratory birds for development planning and protection. HWI has weathered the financial and economic landscape for 30 years, keep our operations running and growing our financial and volunteer capacity. HWI current manages and endowment fund in excess of $1 million, to serve as perpetuity funding for our science and research operations. Social media and modern marketing tools have allowed HWI to reach a more diverse and wider audience, educating on our programs and the importance of raptors in our environment. HWI will continue to serve as a leader for raptor education and conservation for many more decades to come.

HWI's migration network has been streamlined to maintain data integrity in times of government sequestration and funding cuts. This has provided additional challenges in funding the migration network, which has been met through increased individual support. Growing public support of the migration network and diversifying the revenue stream to support the project will be key for long-term success. The migration network has also served as a platform for modern science research projects like blood sampling that has been taken place at our trapping/banding stations from 2011-2013. The migration network will continue to serve as a platform for those who need an outlet to conduct research for masters programs and scientific exploration. HWI started a Professional Services program in 2011 to grow our revenue stream through providing consultation services to the private sector. After an incredibly successful year with the boom of wind energy development, it took an unanticipated dive. Through on-going efforts and growing recognition, private contracts have been on the rise in recent years for our Professional Services and will continue to propel HWI as the leader in raptor related consultation services. HWI's education efforts have been steadily growing since programs services began. Huge progress has been made in getting HWI into schools and providing science and math programs. In 2010, HWI started partnering with school districts to prepare teachers to start teaching statistics. That experience has lead to the on-going effort of providing professional development workshops for teachers on issues related to statistics, data analysis, and environmental education. That success lead to HWI receiving grant funding from the state of Utah to provide informal outreach programs to every high school statewide. HWI's next accomplishment will come in building a website for teachers to access across the nation to download lesson plans and incorporate our raptor biology and statistics programs into their annual curriculum.

Financials

Hawkwatch International, Inc.
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Operations

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Hawkwatch International, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 1/18/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Darlene Batatian

Terracon

Term: 2018 - 2022

Mike Shaw

Dynamic Foot Positioning

Anthony Lewis

Wisan, Smith, Racker & Prescott, LLP

Barbara Polich

Antczak Polich Law

Cindy Kindred

Tangerine Associates, LLC

Jeremy Hanks

Dsco

Kelly Sanders

Sarah George, PhD

University of Utah

Jill Curtis

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/24/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data