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Florida hawk watch sets daily, seasonal falcon records

Peregrine Falcon at Jekyll Island, Georgia, by Marvin Smith
Peregrine Falcon at Jekyll Island, Georgia, by Marvin Smith

Even before last fall, the Florida Keys Hawk Watch at Curry Hammock State Park, in Marathon, Florida, had established itself as the No. 1 place in the world to see migrating Peregrine Falcons. Its counters had tallied more falcons on one day and in one season than anywhere else.

Then, on October 10, 2015, hawk watchers at the park counted 1,506 Peregrines, shattering the one-day record of 651 birds set exactly three years earlier. And for the fifth year in a row, the site established a new seasonal record: 4,559 Peregrines, surpassing its 2014 total of 4,216 falcons.

On the Leica Birding Blog, Jeff Bouton, Leica’s manager of birding and nature markets in the U.S., writes that 2015 season started slow at Curry Hammock, especially for Peregrines, and until the record-setting day, the chances for setting new high marks seemed “dismal.” (Leica is one of the sponsors of the Florida Keys Hawk Watch.)

Watch a video documenting the big day:

An article about the hawk watch, published in our October 2008 issue, is available here.

A version of this article appeared in the February 2016 issue of BirdWatching magazine.

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