Keep Calm and Carrion

KeepCalmandCarrionTall300pxThis year we’re mixing it up a little bit! New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) has competed in the COTF since 2015 as the American Dippers, but in 2019 we’re changing our team name because of the hugely important fundraising efforts focused on vulture conservation, something we are all very passionate about. Introducing team KEEP CALM AND CARRION. Our team is sponsored by Leica Sport Optics and Cellular Tracking Technologies (CTT), two companies who are no strangers to supporting important conservation causes. Our team includes American Dipper veterans Doug Gochfeld, CTT’s President and CEO Michael Lanzone, and CMBO’s Director David La Puma. We are super privileged to welcome our newest teammate, Sempach Bird Observatory’s Sophie Jaquier, who not only sports super birding powers, but also brings years of COTF experiences as a founding member of the Sempach Snowfinches.

This year we need your help to raise some hard cash and strong awareness for the critical work being carried out by BirdLife Africa partner, Nature Kenya, the recipient of the funds raised in the 2019 Champions of the Flyway.

You can donate via our dedicated JustGiving campaign page. It’s easy, secure, and the funds are committed to boots-on-the-ground work saving these imperiled vultures. So please donate today, share your commitment to your friends and family via social media, and encourage them to support the cause as well. Together we will help halt the slaughter of vultures not only in the Rift Valley, but globally.

Thank You!

2019 team Keep Calm and Carrion
Doug Gochfeld, Sophie Jaquier, Michael Lanzone & David La Puma Leica_Logo(Sponsor)

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Meet the Team:

Doug Gochfeld

Doug Gochfeld’s passion for birds was born amid the concrete, steel, and yellow taxis of his native Brooklyn, New York. He spent his formative years dashing from “normal” city kid activities to scour the urban landscape for birds with his father. His tight bond with Cape May Bird Observatory was formed when he was the migration swing counter (counting the Hawkwatch, the Seawatch, and the songbird Morning Flight) for two fall seasons, and has grown tighter with every passing year. He was lucky enough to be there in 2010, when two of the most spectacular single-day migration events he has ever witnessed took place: a breathtaking flight of half a million or more Monarch butterflies, and an equally staggering flight and fallout of hundreds of thousands passerines a month later.  Doug is an international guide for Field Guides Birding Tours, a member of Leica’s Pro Staff, and currently sits on the New York State Avian Records Committee.

This year’s cause is especially near and dear to Doug’s heart for several reasons. Just as the importance of nature is often overlooked and shunted to the side in urban environments, vultures are unjustly maligned across the globe. Being at the very end of the food chain, these amazingly efficient environmental sanitizers are subject to the very worst our industrialized world spews out. Securing these graceful beasts’ place in the African skies is a fight Doug is taking up with gusto.

Sophie Jaquier

For as long as she remembers, Sophie has always been into birds. Running around her father’s ringing station made her interest grow further, and she started birding by herself as a young teenager. Very much into small brown birds, she spent a lot of her twenties travelling to birding places and hopping from ringing station to ringing station around the world, with a special fondness for Heligoland, Germany. As a biologist, she worked on bioacoustics projects and then in bird conservation for BirdLife Switzerland. Now a bit more sedentary, she enjoys ringing with colleagues in their Constant Effort Site by Lucerne and getting up early sometimes for breeding bird monitoring.
Sophie believes informing and sensitizing people for the bird world is one of the keys to its conservation. She tries to do her share in this respect as a press officer and communication person for the Swiss Ornithological Institute, as a course leader for BirdLife Lucerne and as a board member of the ALA, the Swiss Society for Ornithology and Bird Protection.

Mike Lanzone

Michael Lanzone started birding when he was eight years old. He went on to become a field ornithologist working for various state, federal, and private organizations across the United States and Mexico. In 2003, he became the Assistant Coordinator for the 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas and the Biotechnology and Biomonitoring Lab Supervisor stationed at Powdermill Nature Reserve, the biological research station of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While at Powdermill he studied nocturnal bird migration and flight calls, Golden Eagle movement ecology, and assisted with the Powdermill Bird Banding program, among other things.
In 2011 he was awarded the Conservation Award from the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology for the research on eastern Golden Eagles and in 2013 The Research Management and Partnership Award from the US Department of Agriculture. In 2017 he was awarded The Chandler Robbins Conservation Award by the American Birding Association for his significant contributions to bird conservation and the management and preservation of habitats.

Mike has served on the Board of Directors for many different NGOs, served on the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee and was the president for Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology. Currently, Mike lives in Cape May, NJ with his wife and two daughters and is the Chief Executive Officer of Cellular Tracking Technologies in Rio Grande, New Jersey where he works with researchers around the world to develop remote tracking solutions for birds and other wildlife.
Conservation has always been at the forefront of Michael’s life, whether developing cutting edge technology to reduce mortality of migratory species, founding non-profit organization to protect important stopover habitat from development, or competing in bird races to raise money crucial to the protection of birds worldwide. This is what excites Michael most about joining Champions of the Flyway.

David La Puma

David La Puma is the director of New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory ( For nearly two decades David has conducted research on endangered species management of the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, fire ecology of the Florida Everglades, the use of radar to quantify stopover habitat for migratory birds, and the use of long-term datasets to detect meaningful change in wildlife populations. As director of CMBO, David is responsible for keeping his finger on the pulse of migration at one of the world’s most important migration concentration points, with long-term monitoring of raptor, waterbird, songbirds and butterfly migration engrained in the DNA of the observatory. Equally important is the observatories efforts to develop this data into resources that can be used to connect people to nature and direct conservation efforts to protect wildlife and their habitats for generations to come.

No stranger to bird races, David has competed in New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding since 2005, winning the Swarovski Carbon Footprint Cup with fellow COTF teammate Michael Lanzone several times. David’s team also won and set a new competition record for the Sax-Zim Bog BRRRRdathon in 2013 (dubbed the “world’s coldest bird race”, taking place in January in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin) and competed for multiple years in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon. This is David’s second time competing in the Champions of the Flyway (first in 2017), and he is highly motivated to do better than he did the last time! But more importantly, David is excited to help raise the profile for globally important conservation and raise real funds which go directly towards the goal of conserving the world’s vultures!