Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker Todd Katzner (Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group presenter) is a research wildlife biologist at the Snake River Field Station of the U.S. Geological Survey in Boise, Idaho.  After 25 years of work in ecology and conservation biology, he now focuses on understanding and mitigating threats from renewable energy to soaring birds of prey. Todd also researches raptors in central Asia, particularly eagles in the Republic of Kazakhstan.  He co-edited and authored the book The Eagle Watchers and co-founded the wildlife telemetry company Cellular Tracking Technologies, LLC. (Of interest to anyone into truly long-distance migratory raptors, his research also includes the Red-footed Falcon!)

Plenary Speaker

Plenary Speaker David Cuthrell (Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group presenter) is a conservation scientist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, part of MSU Extension. He has assisted with a variety of rare species surveys throughout the state and has worked with Northern Goshawks and Red-shouldered Hawks for over two decades. Believing that “conservation requires knowledge and action,” he disseminates information to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan DNR, and through publications, training workshops, and participation in many professional organizations. When he is not chasing bugs or sloshing through prairie fens, he enjoys time with his family and umpiring baseball.

Raptor Presenter

Live Raptor Presenter Jenny Schroeder has a passion for youth education. She runs Hawk Hill Raptors in order to educate people about birds of prey through programs with live raptors. Schroeder has a degree in animal behavior from Michigan State University and has been conducting wildlife education programming for about twenty years. She worked full time for ten years for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs coordinating their Wildlife Encounters Program in partnership with the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Looking for a more in- depth way to understand raptor behavior, Schroeder found the answer in falconry. She has been a licensed falconer for 12 years and belongs to the Michigan Hawking Club. 

Session Presenters

Richard Couse became Executive Director of Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch in September 2018.  Rich first worked in the field of Human Services advocating for troubled teens, variously as a counselor, grant writer, and program coordinator.  After earning a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England, he conducted field research on species ranging from Nelson’s Sparrows, Piping Plovers, and Least Terns to Eastern Hognose Snakes and the federally-endangered New England Cottontail Rabbit.  He is passionate about the importance of raptor conservation and sees great potential for MSRW.  The sky is the limit!

Josh Haas, past President of Battle Creek Audubon, first developed a love for hawks working with the birds of prey at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. A hawkwatching trip to Lake Erie Metropark opened his eyes to hawks in migration. Perplexed by seeing specks at a distance with an overwhelming itch to know what they were, he started learning from veteran hawk watchers and was hooked. He spent seven seasons helping the Detroit River Hawkwatch as a relief counter. His goal of making hawks accessible to everyone spawned the “Hawks on the Wing” instructional video on identifying hawks in flight. Josh co-owns Hawks at a Glance and Glances At Nature Photography where he sells his work, teaches lessons and workshops, and leads bird photography trips around the Midwest.

Mike Lanzone (Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group presenter) started birding when he was 8, and since then has traveled the world to watch, listen to, study, and photograph birds. He has worked as a field ornithologist for various state, federal, and private organizations in the U.S. and Mexico and was the Assistant Coordinator for the 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas.  He served as Supervisor of the Biotechnology and Biomonitoring Lab at Powdermill, the biological research station of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  Currently, Mike is the Chief Executive Officer of Cellular Tracking Technologies in Somerset, PA.  His recent work has focused on Golden Eagle and Snowy Owl flight behavior and telemetry, including participation in Project SNOWstorm.  Mike is excited about the application of bioacoustics to monitoring nocturnal bird migrants using their flight calls as well as geographically remote breeding populations of songbirds. Mike’s hobbies include butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, photography, wine making, and gardening.

Darrell Lawson, a computer programmer, ranks as one of the top Ebird participants in Michigan.  He is past president of Petoskey Regional Audubon Society and served on the governing committee of Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch as well as substitute waterbird counter.  Darrell leads many birding field trips and is the primary developer of the Sunset Coast Birding Trail in northern lower Michigan.

Mark Martell (Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group presenter) is a Senior Ecologist with Tetra Tech, Inc. Sciences in Bloomington, Minnesota. Before moving to this environmental consulting firm, he served as Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Minnesota for twelve years.  It was there that he began satellite tracking of Golden Eagles. Prior to Audubon, he was a Research Fellow at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.  He has conducted research on raptors in North and Central America since 1985.

Dr. Trish Miller (Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group presenter) has been studying birds for over 20 years and has been tracking and studying eagles for over a decade. She has a long standing interest in bird conservation and spatial ecology. Dr. Miller works as a senior research wildlife biologist and the executive director of Conservation Science Global where she studies movement ecology and conservation of raptors, especially eagles. Her research integrates telemetry and spatial modeling to address conflicts with human development. She received her B.S. in biology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in ecology from Penn State.

Chris N. Parish (Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group presenter) was raised in a small farming/ranching and oil town in San Joaquin Valley, California.  After being introduced to wildlife of the desert foothills through hunting and fishing, he attended Northern Arizona University in Biology on an athletic scholarship.  Upon reflection of the vast gap between the people of the land and conservation-oriented groups, he vowed to bring these groups together to build intentional and successful conservation. After five years with the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a wildlife biologist, he became Condor Program Director for The Peregrine Fund and now serves as its Director of Global Conservation while pursuing a Ph.D. at Northern Arizona University.   He also chairs the North American Non-Lead Partnership.

Bob Pettit gained his love for spotting and counting birds from his mother and ornithologist father.  He earned his Masters degree in Ornithology from Central Michigan University and became a Biology Professor at Monroe County Community College. Bob co-founded the Erie Shores Birding Association, chaired the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory and the Hawk Migration Association of North America, and was president of the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory. He has volunteered as raptor observer for over 30 years, amassing 1,500+ hours of observation, and has conducted workshops on hawk identification for over 25 years.  For Bob, it’s not about racking up a list of species. It’s about camaraderie and giving a little something back, ‘seeing it, sharing it with other folks, and then sharing the data with the world so we can see the health of our environment.’

Interpreters and Field Trip Leaders

Steve Baker, a retired veterinarian from Indian River, has observed raptor migration in the Straits of Mackinac since the early 1980s.  He serves on the Board of Directors of Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch and has been the principal volunteer spring hawk counter since 2011 as well as helping with waterbirds.  Steve leads field trips and gives programs for several Audubon societies and land conservancies.  He enjoys botanizing (especially for native orchids and ferns), kayaking, hiking, taking nature photographs, and trying to learn the dragonflies.

Kathy Bricker began attending Toledo Star and Sky Study Group monthly meetings when she was 9 years old.  Although she pursued careers in biology, land conservation, and non-profit management and development rather than astronomy, she has shared her knowledge about constellations with many groups since retiring to northern Michigan in 2006.  A past president of both Petoskey Regional and Straits Area Audubon Societies, she co-founded Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, serves as its Secretary and Mackinaw Raptor Fest Chair, and presents programs to groups around Michigan about its work.

Leonard Graf is a licensed bird bander who has birded on all seven continents. He brings over 25 years of experience as a part time volunteer hawk and waterbird counter at the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. Leonard has spent over 20 years leading winter birding tours to Sault Ste. Marie and leads state wide birding trips for local Audubon clubs. He co-authored the annotated checklist, “Birds of Leelanau County and Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.” 

Bev Kirby has long been an avid birder, volunteering with Michigan Audubon’s Winter Bird Feeder Survey and Cornell University’s Project Feederwatch since the beginning of both citizen science programs.  She volunteered and watched hawks at Mackinac Straits for many years before Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch was founded and continues as volunteer greeter whenever she can.  Bev worked at Birmingham Public School District for 35 years.  A native Canadian, Bev is seldom seen without a smile on her face and her husband Jack by her side.

Darrell Lawson (see above description)

Dave Mayberry works in landscape design and execution.  For this, he travels frequently to Mackinac Island where he has observed the spring raptor migration for many years.  He serves on the Board of Directors of Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, which he co-founded.  He created the public information kiosks at the hawk and owl research sites and manages MSRW’s merchandise effort.

Elliot Nelson, an outreach educator with Michigan Sea Grant, works with coastal communities and businesses in the Eastern Upper Peninsula to apply science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes, Lake Superior, northern Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron issues.  Nelson was formerly a Research Assistant at the University of Michigan Water Center and helped create the Michigan Water Collaboration Network.  He also was the Program Coordinator for the North Huron Birding Trail, a high school science teacher and Founding Environmental Educator of the Cedar Campus Environmental Stewardship and Tourism Program.

Ed Pike, retired from Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, has conducted bird research for four decades.  As a licensed bird bander, he studied Barn Swallows and Piping Plovers, serving on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Piping Plover Recovery Team and chairing the D.N.R.'s Piping Plover Recovery Team. Wanting to learn the importance of the Straits of Mackinac to raptors, he secured funding for the first spring hawk count in 2004 and has banded more than 2,000 owls of eight species, working both spring and fall migrations as a volunteer.  Ed co-founded and chairs the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch.

Bruce Seeger relocated to Cheboygan from downstate a decade ago.  Interested in birds for most of his life, he joined Straits Area Audubon Society and participates in the annual Cheboygan Christmas Bird Counts. Seeger learned about the Hawk Count from an article in the Cheboygan Daily Tribune announcing that professional counter Kevin Georg was hired to do the first count.  Seeger credits Kevin Georg for teaching him much about raptors and their identification during countless hours at the hawk watch over five years, including the magical day when nearly five thousand red-tail hawks were counted.

     Every year thousands of hawks, eagles, vultures, and owls follow the contours of Lakes Michigan and Huron, ending up at the Straits of Mackinac where they must cross a 5-mile expanse of water. To save energy, the birds use rising air drafts to lift them high in the air, and then they glide across the Straits.

     The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch inventories these birds as well as waterfowl as they migrate and promotes their observation to the public. To see our work, along with photos and migrating numbers, visit our website at

      Interpreters will be on hand all day to help you spot and identify the birds and share stories about them. There is no charge for this activity.