Bridger Raptor Festival Bridger Raptor Festival

Bridger Raptor Festival Keynote Speakers

2016 Bridger Raptor Keynote Speaker


Dr. Marco Restani joined Montana Audubon in December 2015 to serve as Director of Conservation and is President of the Board of Directors of the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman.

Originally an ‘Army Brat’, Marco has lived and worked throughout Montana since 1983. He received a BS from the University of Montana, MS from Montana State, and PhD from Utah State studying Bald Eagles along the Missouri River near Helena. Following post-doctoral research at the University of Washington, Marco was a Professor for 15 years at Rocky Mountain College in Billings and at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He spent seven summers in Greenland studying Peregrine Falcons and Common Ravens, two summers in Australia studying Tasmanian Devils, and four winters guiding ecotourists to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctica. Since 2012 Marco has been collaborating with Yellowstone Valley Audubon to monitor nesting Ospreys along the Yellowstone River. He is an ‘Elective Member’ of the American Ornithologists’ Union and a ‘Certified Wildlife Biologist’ with The Wildlife Society.

Marco will speak on "Avian Migration: Pattern and Process, Risk and Reward"

October 7, 2016 - 7:00 pm Museum of the Rockies

For generations the spectacle of bird migration has inspired artists and scientists alike. After a long cold winter, returning flocks of waterfowl and colorful songbirds warm the spirit and elicit questions about the behavior of mass movement. Some birds travel 10,000 miles one-way or fly non-stop for days. Why do they do that? How do they do that? Although enjoying raptor migrations was once largely restricted to ridgetop sport shooting, today amateur and professional naturalists sit to count, record, and admire the beauty of flight as birds pass by at eye level. This presentation will review general principles of bird migration and will focus on raptor studies that revealed how the continents are connected by seasonal movement.

Bridger Raptor Fest Former Keynote Speakers

Kate Davis - 2015 Speaker
Founder of the Raptors of the Rockies

Kate Davis began life with a love of animals and by junior high school in 1973, she was caring for mammals and raptors with the Cincinnati Zoo Junior Zoologists Club. She provided educational programs at the zoo and in the community, as well as illustrating their publications and doing taxidermy work. After locating in Missoula, Montana in 1978, Kate received a degree in Zoology from the University of Montana in 1982. She founded the non-profit educational organization Raptors of the Rockies 27 years ago, and keeps 18 non-releasable and falconry birds at the facility at her house in the Bitterroot Valley. Her Teaching Team ranges from Golden Eagles to a Pygmy-Owl, with 14 species including an Aplomado Falcon from The Peregrine Fund.

Peter Sherrington - 2014 Speaker
Founder and Research Director of the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation.

Peter Sherrington, trained as a geologist/paleontologist, gave up his career in the oil industry in 1992 to study Golden Eagle migration in the Alberta Rocky Mountains. Peter is the Founder and Research Director of the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation, and currently resides in Beaver Mines, Alberta. He will describe how a single Golden Eagle sighting mushroomed into an impressive long-term research project that has contributed substantially to our understanding of the seasonal movements and population status of Golden Eagle populations inhabiting a vast portion of western North America. We look forward to Peter sharing his story and scenic photos as he chronicles this pioneering citizen-science research effort.

Steve Hoffman - 2013 Speaker
Steve Hoffman, Executive Director of the Montana Audubon Society, on "Ecology of Hawk & Eagle Migration in the Rocky Mountain West"

Steve spoke on his observations of the amazing fall eagle & hawk migration along the crest of the Bridger Mountains (above Bridger Bowl Ski Area) which began in 1991. The presentation explored the natural history and migratory patterns of more than a dozen common species of hawks and eagles that migrate through the Bridgers and throughout the Rocky Mountain region each autumn. The majestic Golden Eagle is the most abundant raptor migrant observed in the Bridgers, with up 1,800 tallied each fall.

Denver Holt - 2004, 2006 Speaker
Denver Holt is a wildlife researcher with many interests. His work and research with owls and their ecology is known internationally. He has been researching owls since 1978 in Mexico, Costa Rica, Alaska, Massachusetts and Montana. This work has resulted in numerous publications in both scientific and natural history journals.

Denver is founder and president of the Owl Research Institute in Ninepipes, Montana.

In 2002, National Geographic Explorer Television and National Geographic Magazine featured, "Owls: Silent Hunters", on the Owl Research Institute's project on Snowy owls in Barrow Alaska.

Not limited to owls, Denver has also studies gulls, terns, raptors, and small mammals.

Thane Maynard - 2005, 2008 Speaker
Thane Maynard is Vice President of Public Information at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Thane Maynard 's mission is to teach and write, telling the story of biological diversity, natural history, and wildlife conservation to the general public.

Thane is best known as a writer and host of numerous wildlife programs, including the daily "public radio series" the "90-Second Naturalist", which airs on stations across North America. He has been featured on "Good Morning America", "Today", and "CBS This Morning", and has been a regular wildlife expert on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien".

He is the author of thirteen books on wildlife. He is currently writing a book titled the "The Nature of Hope," which is also the title of the book he is writing with Jane Goodall.