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WINGS Tour Leaders – Skye Haas

Skye Haas

Image of Skye Haas

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 birder 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 specialized 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 programs for several seasons. Skye has worked for a total of 15 years combined 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, as 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 a part of the effort to modernize 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 of this non-profit.

In addition to his years as a field biologist, Skye ran his own guiding business, Borealis Birding, for over a decade now, specializing in Michigan’s unique endemic, the Kirtland’s Warbler as well as many other northern specialties like Spruce Grouse, Great Gray Owl and the array of “winter” finches. He has guided for several organizations, 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.



"Skye is a very pleasant person, good leader, and fantastic birder. He is also a patient and enthusiastic teacher, bringing everyone's birding up a level."
- Judith W. on New Jersey: Cape May

"Skye was the best tour leader I could hope to have. I am a beginning birder and we had a variety of knowledge among the tour members. Skye did a superb job of adjusting to our various needs for information, to adjusting as needed to make sure each of us could see the birds, to adjusting on the fly when new info came in about where the birds were, or the best areas to bird at a given moment. His extensive knowledge of so many individual birds and their details: male and female coloring, their songs, their flight patterns, where they should be or not be and he has an excellent ability to convey the info to us."

-Kathy K on New Jersey: Cape May

Updated: October 2019