To help kick-off Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, November 30, we wanted to talk about what we did this year. Here are the things that your donations got done. Please donate to the Raptor Resource Project to help us continue our work in 2021 and beyond!
Despite the ongoing disruption of Covid-19, we added streams at Red Wing Grain and US Bank, got the Eagle Valley camera online, improved our streaming and recording capabilities, built a new starter nest at N1, and reoriented our online classroom around the Decorah North eagles. We:
- Replaced nest boxes and nest box parts at Red Wing Grain and the US Bank building in La Crosse, WI. We also added a camera at US Bank La Crosse, replaced the camera at Red Wing Grain, and got both sites back online.
- Installed a new camera at a new undisclosed location in northern Wisconsin. We are very excited for it to be turned on in April!
- Began a research project to trap and transmitter golden eagles wintering in Wisconsin’s Driftless region. Where do they return to and what do their travels look like? We hope to have some answers this spring!
- Replaced three computers. We now have four computers capable of streaming at 4K!
- Built a new starter nest at N1. C’mon, Mom and DM2 – your new home awaits!
Online Interaction and Education
Since January 1, 2021, we have:
- Provided over 1200 hours of chat on the Decorah North eagles channel, including 200 hours of dedicated educational chat. Our Decorah eagles group provided 230 hours of moderated chat and our Flyway group provided 500 hours of moderated chat.
- Posted 418 times on Facebook. Topics and photos included the Decorah Eagles, the Decorah North Eagles, the GSB Peregrine Falcons, tracking D27, D35, and D36, Robin Brumm’s trips to Decorah, Peregrine Falcon banding, nest box work, and many other topics related to our nests and birds. Posts were shared from Neil Rettig Productions, SOAR, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Explore.org, and several fan pages.
- Wrote 202 blogs on our web site. We reported on and addressed questions about the Decorah eagles and their new nest, Mr. North and DNF, nest intruders, eaglet growth and development, eagle ID, falcon banding, nest box and camera maintenance activities, the events at Great Spirit Bluff, and the birds of the Mississippi River Flyway.
I need to give a shout out to our amazing volunteer moderators. Let me be very clear – our volunteers make our pages the best on the web and we could not provide our chat or online educational program without their help! They have educated people, comforted people, and welcomed them into a wider circle of eagle friends. We thank them for everything they do!
Monitoring, Banding, and Recovery
Our peregrine falcon program is key part of who we are and what we do! In 2021, we:
- Monitored over 50 peregrine falcon and bald eagle nest sites and potential territories in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Colorado.
- Banded 80 falcons at 29 sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois between May 19 and June 22! At least one new cliff site came online this year and we are hopeful about even more next year!
Thanks to our utility, industrial, and landowner partners for all of their help and support! A huge thanks to Brett Mandernack for including ‘our’ eagles in his studies and for sharing all of the data about their whereabouts and fates. Thanks also to Bill Smith and Jon Stravers for their help monitoring eyries on the Mississippi River. We couldn’t do it without all of you!
Camera Research and Installation
John Howe, Kike (Enrique or Kee-Kay) Arnal, Amy Ries, Brett Mandernack, and Ryan Schmitz installed a total of seven new cameras and three new microphones at N1, N2B, Decorah North, Eagle Valley, and an undisclosed location that we’ll be revealing next spring (hint: it’s not the one you might be thinking of – this is a completely new project with a different partner).
It was a busy season but the upgrades in video and sound were well worth it! The installations took roughly 2000 hours total. John Howe put in hundreds of hours researching, ordering, and testing cameras this year. While the majority of our installs are done in September and October, camera and streaming research take place year-round.
- We upgraded our website and our live streams to give users a safer, easier, and faster way to watch our eagles and falcons on a variety of platforms, including mobile devices and tablets!
- We added new remote volunteer camera operators to increase our coverage. This has given us new insights into the lives and habitat of the birds we watch!
As of the third quarter of 2021, our expenses looked liked this:
- Staff and contractor compensation cost $156,231. We pay for a director, three contractors, two master banders, a banding station attendant, banding interns, and additional people as needed. We are committed to paying a fair wage for work, which means that we compensate our people at a living wage or better.
- Camera equipment and IT expenses – cameras, microphones, cables, encoders, software, licensing fees, website costs, and so on – cost $55,500. HD and 4K cameras are amazing, brilliant, and breathtaking…but they don’t come cheap. Software licensing and IT expenses continue to rise as we bring more camera operators on and do everything we can to make sure our website and streams are watchable on a variety of devices, secure, encrypted, and always up.
- Supplies – paper, printer expenses, new ropes, slings, rappelling tools, hardware, zip ties, screws, silicon gel, ropes, rope bags, rescue equipment, harnesses, lumber, paint, tape, bands, banding equipment, and trapping equipment – cost $14,250. Several of us pay for our own climbing equipment instead of having RRP do it, which helps keep expenses lower and gives Amy a great excuse to go shopping.
- Office and land rental fees cost $6,000.
- After the Fledge, travel and vehicle expenses, land rental fees, and administrative costs like insurance, internet and telephone, stipends, state taxes, endowment funding, grants to partner organizations, and printing and postage cost $67,344. This includes a large newsletter printings, all of our thank you letters and envelopes, and any printing related to talks, events, and presentations.
Donations from viewers like you remain our biggest single source of income. We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support of the Raptor Resource Project mission. Would you please help us make a difference with your donation? Thank you so much for your support and we hope you enjoy watching in 2021!