November 06, 2013

Warden Award: Sue Robertson

Citizen scientist and long-time volunteer

Sue with an American kestrel

The board of directors at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary at its annual meeting honored long-time local volunteer and citizen scientist Sue Robertson with the Sanctuary's highest honor, the Warden Award. A replica of the badge worn by Maurice Broun, the award is presented to select individuals who demonstrate special merit or leadership in helping to achieve the Sanctuary's mission.

There's no question Sue fits the bill. At age 85, she continues to ensure the success of the long-term American kestrel nestbox study, having dedicated more than four decades monitoring local populations of American kestrels—work that she began with her late husband Bob more than 40 years ago, and continues today. She remains as active as ever.

A skilled raptor researcher in her own right, each summer Sue tends to the many boxes that surround the Sanctuary, banding, weighing and measuring nestlings, and working with Hawk Mountain biologists and trainees to collect and track data. She then spends the winters in Florida where she catches and bands adult kestrels near Fort Meyer's. Sue estimates that she likely has banded more than 3,000 of the tiny falcons throughout her lifetime.

Together with her husband, our staff and others, Sue has coauthored several scientific papers on her findings, and we can always count on her to patiently share her skills and passion with our trainees and staff. She has single-handedly mentored hundreds of local, national and international trainees at Hawk Mountain.

Hawk Mountain honors Sue for her years of dedication, her many contributions to science, and her ability to always serve as an inspirational role model for learners of all ages.

Talen Energy