An excerpt from Booms and Peents, Nighthawk’s little magazine. Read or download the full magazine for free »
As of this writing, the last time I saw many of my birding friends was at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in January 2021. I had just returned from a trip with Birding Ecotours in Thailand and had big things rolling for Nighthawk, including a series of marketing workshops for birding professionals held in conjunction with festivals throughout the year and plans to attend birding events on five continents before 2020 was over.
Here we are, one worldwide crisis away from those days and plans. I suspect that you too have spent the last year and a half frantically trying to adapt, survive, and keep your sanity until a silver lining was visible on the horizon. And I sincerely hope that, since you’re reading this, you are now blazing ahead with a bucket full of optimism and excitement for the future.
Has your business changed much since the pandemic? Over here at Nighthawk, we’re the same at the core — in fact, I’d say even more centered around our values and focused than ever. But outside of that, as Nighthawk enters its fifth year, we’re continuing to evolve as we strive to be an agency that does things no other business does: provide meaningful services to birding companies and organizations of all sizes with the expertise of marketing professionals and the passion of lifelong birders.
Some things have changed for us since the pandemic started. Here are a few of them:
Nighthawk has grown! This summer, Holly Garrod joined the Nighthawk crew as a content creator, fueled by her passion for sharing the joy of birds and birding with others. We’ve hit the ground running with multiple projects that are focused on reducing workloads for clients by giving them substantial content strategies that fuel their websites, print materials, emails, and social media for years. Plus, my little brother, Carter, is helping me with administrative work. He has had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was in diapers, and now that he’s in high school, it’s a joy to show him how the business works on a deeper level.
We’re using new mediums. The pandemic has opened up new possibilities of virtual communication, and we’ve expanded to use Zoom more fully with clients. Beyond that, we’ve spent the last year working with virtual event software to assist with several festivals and events, and I’ve even got in on the podcasting game by producing the Life List podcast with Alvaro Jaramillo and George Armistead (check it out at www.lifelistpodcast.com).
I’m speaking and leading workshops at festivals. Beyond festival assistance, I’ve had the privilege to present more for attendees through a few of my talks such as my Lessons Learned as a Female Birder presentation. Nighthawk is also continuing our work to lead marketing workshops for birding professionals in person at festivals. I’m looking forward to helping even more birding companies and organizations in the next year as I attend more US and international birding events than ever.
More guiding: One of my first birding trips since the before times was joining Mandy Talpas and Alvaro Jaramillo for an epic Hawaiian birding tour. We went to three islands and an incredible experience looking for endemic birds, capped off by a very successful pelagic trip. I love getting the chance to get out and guide!
Then again, some things never change. To name a few:
We’re still working with birding and conservation organizations of all sizes. Nighthawk’s mission since the beginning has been to be a meaningful resource for all things birding marketing and business, and we continue to do just that, regardless of an organization’s size or budget. Throughout the years, we’ve narrowed in on the ways that we can make the most impact for the small businesses we serve, and frankly, it’s flat-out fun to be a small, nimble marketing company that can work with ideas of any size.
I have the privilege of mixing photography with projects. I’ve loved photography for as long as I can remember — I still have photos of backyard birds that I took when I was a few years old (thanks for saving those, Grandma!). Photography and videography aren’t the core of Nighthawk, but they sure come in handy to take projects to the next level. I’m continuously working to portray birding in its entirety, which means capturing not only the birds, but also the joy they bring people, and the ways we experience birds, and to show all sides of birding in every project.
We’re working on a small scale aiming to make a big difference in our clients’ lives. Truly, a day never passes that feels like work when we can see the impact we have on our clients’ small businesses. That will never get old!
What will the next years have in store? It’s impossible to tell! But without a doubt, I’ll still be enjoying the birds and sharing my passion with others.