You will rarely meet someone who looks up quite as much as Brian Rusnica. A graphic designer and senior project manager from Cambridge, Massachusetts, a city just outside Boston, Brian spends two weeks each September to pursue a passion: hawkwatching.
During migration season Brian climbs Mt. Watatic, a small mountain in north-central Massachusetts, day after day often spending 8 hours on the summit. The mountain offers views of the surrounding forest, towns and plenty of vast, open sky, but what sets it apart for Brian, other birders and raptor enthusiasts is that it lies along the “Atlantic Flyway” a migration path followed by raptors, particularly Broadwing Hawks, as they make their way to South America for winter. There are days when Brian finds himself alone on Watatic for hours at a time, but these are well worth it to see broadwing hawks migrate. The species forms swirling masses of birds, known as “kettles”, rising ever higher un- til they catch a thermal and shoot south towards Central and South America, a journey where they will travel approximately 300 miles each day.
Brian is part of an international network of hawkwatchers, his work is entirely voluntary. His data and that of his counterparts are transcribed online for conservation research and orthinological work.