The 2017 Raven Award winners are … Neil Paprocki and Rob Spaul of Hawkwatch International.
The Raven is an annual award presented by the Yukon Bird Club to recognize outstanding contributions to the Yukon birding community, our knowledge of Yukon birds and their habitats, and bird conservation. The spirit of the award reflects the mission of the Yukon Bird Club – which is to promote awareness, appreciation, and conservation of Yukon birds and their habitats.
The 2017 Raven Award recognizes Neil Paprocki and Rob Spaul of Hawkwatch International for their research into Golden Eagle migration along the Kluane Ranges in southwest Yukon. In fall 2017 Neil and Rob conducted migration watches for Golden Eagles at various sites in the Kluane Region, especially at the Slims River Delta and the Donjek River. The Kluane area is well known as a key migration corridor for Golden Eagles moving between their interior Alaska breeding grounds and wintering areas which extend from southern Alberta to northeast New Mexico. The goal of this year’s Hawkwatch International research was to quantify the number of migrant eagles as a way of understanding and monitoring the Alaskan breeding population. The results were impressive.
Neil and Rob conducted migration watches for 181 hours over 26 days and counted a total of 1,278 Golden Eagles along with 395 raptors of a variety of species. Their single highest count was 281 Golden Eagles flying past the Donjek River on 20 October.
The research results were fascinating, though it was Neil and Rob’s involvement of the Yukon birding community that is especially recognized through this award. They invited Yukon birders to participate in the migration watches, and made a special effort to involve birders from the community of Haines Junction. It was an incredible experience to learn about Golden Eagle migration and raptor identification. Neil and Rob were very generous in sharing their results with Yukon birders, both through eBird and social media. The Yukon Bird Club extends our appreciation and congratulations to Neil and Rob.
Past Raven Award recipients
2009 – Malkolm Boothroyd. In recognition of Malkolm’s fossil fuel-free Big Year to raise awareness about bird conservation and climate change.
2010 – Sylvia Frisch. In recognition of Sylvia’s work as part of International Polar Year to host a series of natural history events, including Weekend on the Wing, at Tombstone Territorial Park.
2011 – Shyloh van Delft. In recognition of Shyloh’s outstanding representation of the Yukon birding community at the Young Ornithologists’ Workshop at Long Point Bird Observatory.
2012 – Karen Baltgailis and Christina Macdonald. In recognition of Karen and Christina’s dedicated efforts to protect the McIntyre Creek watershed and wetlands.
2013 – Ione Christensen. In recognition of Ione’s much appreciated series of summer bird presentations co-hosted with the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse.
2014 – Dan Kemble. In recognition of Dan’s enthusiastic leadership of the annual Nares Mountain Dusky Grouse hike.
2015 – Adam Skrutkowski. In recognition of Adam’s diligent monitoring of the Yukon’s wintering Trumpeter Swans at Johnson’s Crossing for the past 10 years.
2016 – Devon Yacura. In recognition of Devon’s ground-breaking research investigating bird populations and contaminants at the Whitehorse Sewage Lagoons.