Flight Report: January Three stories from our work around the nation.

Nine Missions • Eight States • Seven Partners

Mission 1: Wood Storks

This LightHawk flight allowed the Corkscrew Swamp Audubon staff to assess remote locations in the wetlands of Florida. Audubon staff have been monitoring the Corkscrew Wood Stork colony throughout the nesting season — December to May — since the Sanctuary was established in the late 1950s. As advances in technology have allowed, Audubon has used aerial photography of the colony to obtain more accurate counts and to provide the opportunity to accurately count chicks and estimate age.

Outcome: Audubon was able to monitor all sites and may have spotted a new sub-colony of nesting Wood Storks.


Photos of the new Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument. Credit: Dan Coyro, Santa Cruz Sentinel.
  • Location: Santa Cruz, California
  • Partner: Sempervirens Fund
  • Volunteer Pilot: Ken Newbury

This LightHawk flight was at first scheduled to facilitate public awareness of our partners' campaign to protect the Cotoni-Coast area. The night before the flight, President Obama designated the area a National Monument allowing the next day's LightHawk flight to garner the very first pictures of the new National Monument. The diverse and beautiful Coast Dairies property spans six watersheds and encompasses 5,800 acres of coastal prairies, redwood forests, riparian canyons and grazing lands. Its precious natural, cultural, historic, scenic and recreational values are now protected.

Outcome: Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer Dan Coyro captured the very first images of the newly designated national monument, a huge win for our partners at the Sempervirens Fund.

MISSION 3: Great Gray Owl Tracking

This LightHawk flight allowed the Teton Raptor Center to locate several banded Great Gray Owls through aerial telemetry equipment. Currently there is very little information about this iconic species. The data gathered on this flight will allow our partners to better understand juvenile owl seasonal movements, mortality, and dispersal.

Outcome: Two of the six targeted owls were located, allowing our partners to better understand their winter range and habitat.

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