Annual Meeting

**Online Conference Call via Zoom**
Friday, September 11th, 2020
7pm to 8pm

Due to ongoing concerns with COVID-19, the Board of Directors has scheduled a Zoom meeting to be held on Friday September 11, 2020 from 7:00–8:00PM in lieu of our annual in-person meeting. To attend you must RSVP in advance to EMHW Vice President Shawn Carey at scarey@avfx.com to receive a special link to the Zoom meeting.

Our guest speaker will be Tom Sayers who will update the club on his Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project. (Details below.)

We’ll also update everyone on the status of hawk watching at Wachusett Mountain, Mt. Watatic, and Pinnacle Rock, including public access to the sites and count protocols (if counts can be conducted).

We will not have our annual raffle this year. With the mailing of the newsletter, we will begin the bidding on auctioning Steve Olson’s Swarovski Spotting Scope to raise money. (Please see auction details below.) We’ll be receiving bids by email until the annual meeting goes online, when you will be able to bid via the comments box on the bottom of your Zoom screen.

This year’s Zoom meeting will be free and open to the public, so please feel free to share this information with friends and family. However please note you must RSVP in advance. Those that RSVP will be sent the official Zoom invitation link on September 9th or 10th. The schedule for our Zoom meeting will be as follows:

  • Waiting Room opens: 6:30PM
  • Business meeting: 7:00PM – 7:20PM
  • Guest Speaker Tom Sayers: 7:20PM – 7:45PM
  • Q&A: 7:45PM – 8:00PM
  • Raffle of spotting scope to close out meeting

We encourage members to renew their membership and vote for three EMHW directors in advance by mail, as you will not be able to renew or vote in the Zoom meeting. (You can renew by mail at any time, but voting will close Friday, September 18th.) Membership renewals/ballots can be found in your newsletter, or downloaded here.

Keynote Speaker:

Tom Sayers, Founder, Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project
Tom Sayers

Keynote Topic:

Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project Update
Our guest speaker will be Tom Sayers who will update the club on his Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project. EMHW has been supporting Tom’s kestrel box program for the past eight years. His kestrel work fits perfectly with the mission of Eastern Mass Hawk Watch to promote conservation and preservation of hawks locally and on a continental scale; to share data for research and conservation purposes; and to promote awareness of and education about hawks.

To see a short video on Tom and his kestrel box program check out this video from Shawn Carey.

Keynote Speaker Biography:

Tom Sayers was born and raised in South Windsor, Connecticut and from the age of 8 has spent every bit of his spare time wandering the fields and woods exploring whatever nature has to offer. After high school, he attended the University of Connecticut to pursue a degree in Wildlife Management. In his junior year, he was dissuaded (by his advisor no less) from continuing his studies in that area because there were simply very few job opportunities in the field at that time. Tom went on to receive his masters degree in Educational Psychology and spent 35 years in the Tolland Public School system as a special education teacher. He retired in 2010.

Throughout his teaching career, he never lost his love for the outdoors. He always had a special interest in birds and began seriously birding in 2007. This interest gradually morphed into a strong desire to learn more about certain species that were experiencing steep declines. In 2009, he began exploring ways to help the struggling American Kestrel, which had been experiencing a dramatic decrease in numbers in the eastern U.S. over the past 30 years. His research led him to articles describing success with man-made American Kestrel nestboxes. What began as a curiosity has blossomed into an extensive project comprised of around 80 nestboxes in central Connecticut.

Over time, Tom has become fascinated with the science behind the population dynamics of this species. To gather as much information as possible, he has moved beyond simply putting up nestboxes and has embarked on multi-year studies utilizing federal banding, color banding, radio telemetry, and most recently, geolocators. These efforts have added greatly to our understanding of the American Kestrel in this study area.

Bid on a Swarovski Spotting Scope in Special Auction!

EMHW is offering a like-new Swarovski ATS 80 mm spotting scope for auction this fall. This scope with a 20 – 60X zoom eyepiece, and a Sunpak Pro 7500 Tripod formerly belonged to well-known Wachusett site leader Steve Olson. Steve purchased the scope in 2009 and used it primarily at Wachusett before his health prohibited him from birding, so the scope is in near mint condition. Steve’s wife Kathy has generously donated the scope and tripod to EMHW and is especially happy that a portion of the proceeds will go towards the New England Broad-winged Hawk telemetry project developed by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

If you are interested in bidding for the scope, the procedure is as follows:

1. When the newsletter is mailed, every EMHW member for whom we have an email address will receive an email on the auction and the bidding procedure.

2. To make your bid, reply to that email i.e., to e.masshawkwatch@comcast.net with the amount. Please include your name and phone number (cell) in the body of that email along with your bid.

3. We will periodically send out the current high bid to everyone on that membership list. If you do not want to receive updates on the auction, send an email to e.masshawkwatch@comcast.net with the words “unsubscribe bidding” in the subject line.

4. The bidding will conclude at the end of the virtual annual meeting on Friday evening, September 11, around 8 p.m., with final bids possible online through the meeting software. (Complete info will be in the first email.) The scope will be available almost immediately for Mass residents.

If you were to purchase a new Swarovski ATS 80 and tripod today, the estimated cost would be in excess of $3200, so you have an unusual opportunity to get a great scope for a great price, and to know that your purchase will be helping us all better understand the migration and ecology of Broad-winged Hawks.

Special thanks to Kathy Olson for generously thinking of EMHW.