Skye Haas is an avid birder, naturalist, tour guide and field biologist living in Marquette, along the shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Skye spent his late teens and early twenties as a musician in Detroit playing cello in local symphonies as well as performing and recording in rock ‘n soul music on the electric bass. But having grown up as a nature-loving kid, the lure of the wild was too great to ignore and he moved into the North Woods of the “Yoop” to work at legendary Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, and later attend Northern Michigan University receiving a BS in Conservation Biology with an emphasis on evolution and ecology.
As a field researcher, Skye specialised foremost as a migration counter, conducting raptor, songbird and in particular waterbird counts. His most recent field biology work has been with NOAA conducting seabird surveys and cetacean research offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, with a focus on the poorly known species True’s Beaked Whale. He has counted seasons at the Avalon Seawatch at the Cape May Bird Observatory where he set the all time record count of over 1,026,000 migrating waterbirds, the Point Pinos Seawatch for Monterey Audubon, and returned to Whitefish Point to run the spring waterbird and hawk count programmes for several seasons. Skye has worked for a total of 15 years on the Wisconsin and Michigan Breeding Bird Atlases as a field biologist, author and technical editor, as well as spending several years conducting point counts for The Nature Conservancy. He was a founding member of the effort to survey raptor migration on the Keweenaw Peninsula- the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch, and was formerly both the chairman of the Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society and a returning member of the Michigan Bird Records Committee. Skye has also been part of the effort to modernise field data collection, first testing and consulting of the development of Dunkadoo, a digital platform to record data, and since then has become a board member.
In addition to his years as a field biologist, Skye ran his own guiding business, Borealis Birding, for over a decade now, specialising in Michigan’s unique endemic, the Kirtland’s Warbler, as well as many other northern specialities such as Spruce Grouse, Great Gray Owl and the array of “winter” finches. He has guided for several organisations, tour groups, and birding festivals such as Michigan Audubon Society, Sarret Nature Center, Eagle-Eye Tours, Wildside Nature Tours, Naturetrek, the Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival, Space Coast Birding Festival, and The Biggest Week!
Skye’s passion and enthusiasm for being on a grand birding adventure is infectious, and in addition to helping to connect people with nature and getting opportunities to observe birds and other wildlife, he truly enjoys the ability to help educate tour participants on various species and their ecology and evolutionary history as well as helping people better develop their own skills as birders and naturalists.
- Colorado: Lekking Grouse (April 2021)
Updated: October 2019