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 is a licensed raptor rehabilitator.  She runs Hawk Hill Raptors in order to educate people about birds of prey through programs with live raptors.  She has conducted wildlife education programming for about twenty years, after working full time for about ten years for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs coordinating their Wildlife Encounters along with the Michigan State University Wildlife Rehabilitation Center program. She has been a licensed falconer for 10 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.

Use same photo as in 2018.

Mike Lanzone 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 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.

Bob Pettit, at an early age, gained a love for spotting and counting from his mother and ornithologist father.  Bob is Biology Professor Emeritus at Monroe County Community College. He co-founded the Erie Shores Birding Association and served on the boards of several bird organizations.  He chaired the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory and the Hawk Migration Association of North America and was president of the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory. He enjoys teaching hawk identification and igniting the spark of birding in others. For Bob, it’s not about racking up a list of species. It’s about camaraderie and giving a little something back.

Vincent Slabe is currently a Graduate Research Assistant at West Virginia University in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.   He earned his M.S. at the University of Illinois and has studied and published scientific papers on the origins of lead in populations of raptors, including Bald and Golden Eagles.  Concerned about the long-term effects of lead that humans introduce into the environment, he will share what actions are being taken to pursue solutions.

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

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.” 

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.

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.

     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 Mackinaw 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.