Mike joined WEST in 2015 as a wildlife biologist in our Cheyenne office. Mike has a strong background in testing the detection and tracking capabilities of avian radar systems in both airport and wind farm settings. His expertise includes developing radar validation methods, using radio-controlled aircraft and multi-rotor drones for radar testing, ground-truthing eagles and waterfowl flocks, analyzing radar data, and report writing. His experience includes conducting wind farm post-construction monitoring, eagle monitoring, and turbine curtailments. He also has experience identifying eastern and western birds by sight and sound for songbird surveys, conducting avian point counts, transect surveys, nest searching, territory mapping, radio tracking, banding, target banding, mist netting, and blood sampling. He has performed vegetation surveys in mature forest and tall grass prairie habitats, and some experience with bat emergence counts and airport wildlife control.
During his undergraduate education at Cedarville University Mike was involved in tall grass prairie research and restoration work and had the opportunity to study the utilization and significance of feathers as nest lining in tree swallow reproduction, which served as his senior project. After completing his undergraduate work, Mike was invited back to Cornell to continue tree swallow nesting research for another season. He has served as a volunteer bird bander at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, a field technician for a USGS/Virginia Tech project to study the winter ecology of the coastal plain swamp sparrow, a research technician at The Ohio State University to conduct canopy nesting bird research and an additional project to examine the use of old growth forest tracts by Cerulean Warblers. He has also served as a contractor at the Air Force Institute of Technology where he worked with engineers on a project aimed at deriving bio-inspired cooperative control algorithms from the cooperative hunting behavior of the Harris’ Hawk and applying them to the cooperative control of multiple unmanned systems with applications to border patrol and reconnaissance.
During his 3 year Masters program, Mike conducted an evaluation of the DeTect Merlin Avian Radar System for the FAA to determine if avian radar systems would be an effective tool in addressing the hazard posed by bird-aircraft collisions at commercial airports. Mike worked as a staff biologist for NaturEner where he monitored for eagles, curtailed turbines, conducted pcm work, and was in charge of evaluating avian detection technologies.