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Bird Banding Andy Witchger

Former Wolf Ridge Student Finds Healing in Bird Photography

April 25, 2022

By Jolene Brink

Jolene is part of the Wolf Ridge marketing team. Her favorite season is the North Shore of Minnesota right about now.

Saw Whet Owl
Photo of Saw-Whet Owl by Andy Witchger (@andywitchger) taken near Grand Marais, MN in April 2022.

After suffering several concussions, Andy Witchger found healing in nature and photography. A recent Star Tribune article described his journey, from taking very slow walks around Minneapolis’ Lake Harriet during the bird migration to now, spending many nights catching, tagging, photographing, and researching owls.

He credits organizations like Sugarloaf Cove Nature CenterHawk Ridge Bird Observatory, and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center with providing the courses and resources to support his newfound passion for birding, and bird photography, while he healed from his brain injury.

“Wolf Ridge will always have a special place in my heart,” says Witchger. “My experiences taking bird banding classes, and then volunteering for the MAPS program, have been highlights of my summers the last few years. I’ve learned so much from [Wolf Ridge staff] Peter Harris, Lori Walewski, and Joe Walewski, not just about birds, but about nature and life in general. They’ve always made Wolf Ridge feel like home.”

Wolf Ridge offers bird banding drop-in dates throughout the summer where visitors can observe these birds up-close and learn about the banding process and bird research. There are also limited spots remaining in our summer 2022 youth Ornithology Field Camp.