Keeping the Count – Richard Couse, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch

In this short video, we meet Richard Couse, the new Executive Director of the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch (MSRW). An avid birder and conservationist, Couse has worked with a number of nonprofits on the East Coast focusing on bird ecology and related research projects. With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in conservation biology, he’s truly excited to be working with this young nonprofit organization focused on scientific data gathering, migratory birds and public education.

Anyone interested in the migration of raptors through Michigan is invited to join MSRW each spring and fall to watch the incredible array of hawks, eagles and vultures moving through the area. Couse notes that MSRW has discovered and documented surprisingly large numbers of golden eagles moving though the Straits. To learn more about golden eagles and migratory patterns, Couse encourages everyone to come to this year’s Mackinaw Raptor Fest hosted by MSRW  in Mackinaw City, April 5-7, 2019.

Editor’s Note: Special Thanks to Josh Haas for the video clips of raptors used in this video (

For more on MSRW, please watch the two-part series published by Nature Change in 2017. Here are the links:

Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch – Part 1. Soaring Across Big Water

Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch – Part 2. Ed Pike and the Young Owl Banders

2 thoughts on “Keeping the Count – Richard Couse, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch

  1. I was wondering if you could help us with a problem we have in our TCCG Traverse City Community Garden, last year alone we seem to have been taken over by chickmucks and voles. We have a juvenile red tail hawk visiting our garden. We would love it if he would make a home here. We BAND any chemicals that are not organic, so having the hawk is God send. How can we make our garden a great habitat for the hawk? And suggestion would be very much appreciated. Thank you MickeyZ 586-481-4444.

    1. Hi Mickey, I think the fact that you have a hawk hanging around shows that you are already creating a great habitat for hawks. The two most important things for any animal are food and shelter. So by banning chemicals and providing healthy food for small mammals, you are providing a healthy food source for raptors. So, to keep the hawks happy, you must keep the little critters happy. Think of yourself as a steward of the Food Web. The other thing you would want to provide is a place for the hawk to perch on, a place at the edge of the garden, yard, field, whatever space you may have. This is a spot where they can watch for prey. A large tree is a nice natural structure, but if you do not have a tree consider, putting up a post, the taller the better but it really doesn’t have to be. Finally, if you are lucky enough to have woods adjacent to your property, and if you have provided all these things, they just might choose to build a nest within them! Thank you for your interest and for wanting to do something special for raptors.

      Best wishes,


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