Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hawk Mountain: 1954

A few weeks back, I made a series of posts about Hawk Mountain, the iconic raptor-watching sanctuary in eastern Pennsylvania. This prompted a wonderful note from Dr. Bernie Master of Worthington, Ohio, and I've copied his message in its entirety below. His note got me to thinking about the impact that the Mountain has certainly had on several generations of budding conservationists since its founding in 1934. Bernie was only 13 when he visited in 1954, the year that the photos that follow were made. He was already well on the path to a life-long fascination with natural history, but I suspect the visit to Hawk Mountain only reinforced his interests.

Countless kids have visited Hawk Mountain, and a great many of them must have been infused with curiosity about the natural world on its summit. It's hard not to be, when a Peregrine Falcon strafes by a stone's throw away, or a testosterone-filled Sharp-shinned Hawk swipes at a comparatively sluggish Red-tailed Hawk right overhead.

In Bernie's case, he has gone on to see more of the world's birds than all but a handful of people, has served on the boards of numerous conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy, American Birding Association, and American Bird Conservancy, and supported an array of research and education iniatives.

Places like Hawk Mountain are worth their weight in gold, not just because of the habitat that they protect, but because of the minds, young and old, that they help to stimulate.


Your blog on your visit to Hawk Mt. stirred some old memories of my first visit in 1954. I dug out some photos of this visit.I am shown with my father, Dr. Gilbert Master and our friends, Dr. Bob and Mrs.Nora Katrins at the entrance, the knob and at the base feeding Mute Swans.You can see there were many birders back then. I was 13 at the time. The experienced birders would call out the ID of the raptors as they came toward the crowd over 1 of 3 mountain tops, calling out the bird and 1,2,or,3 so you knew where to look. I vividly remember seeing a Red-tail and a Goshawk come by that day. The best part of the trip though were the meat loaf sandwiches my mother made for us.I am using my Uncle Vince's German binoculars he brought home from WWII, pretty good optics for back then. My dad knew Maurice Broun, the first director of Hawk Mt. and I remember spending birding time with him.Thanks for awakening so many good memories.



1 comment:

Jana said...

I love the vintage black and white photos. Thanks Dr. Master for sharing your memories and opening this Hawk Mountain window from the past.