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It’s time to count hawks: Migration week is here!

swainsons-hawk-flying-adult-6956
Swainson’s Hawk in Beaverhead County, Montana, July 2013, by miam.

The second International Hawk Migration Week kicks off tomorrow!

The celebration, sponsored annually by the Hawk Migration Association of North America, runs from September 19 through September 27 — the week when peak numbers of raptors are counted across North America. All hawk lovers are encouraged to locate a nearby hawk watch and join the fun.

HMANA logo_165x181HMANA’s 129 watch sites across the continent will be holding festivals, Big Day counts, or identification workshops, and they’ll all be submitting their daily counts to the website HawkCount.org throughout the week. To find the hawk-count site nearest to you, and for contact information and driving directions, go to HawkCount.org.

The website maintains an archive of count data, along with maps, average counts, and population statuses and information about migration timing. During Hawk Migration Week, the site will show the overall size and extent of the migration as it occurs.

Last year’s inaugural International Hawk Migration Week was September 20-28, 2014, during the peak of the Broad-winged Hawk migration, and it was spectacular. Observers at 100 watch sites in 33 states and provinces counted 1,203,067 raptors of 29 species. The vast majority, 1,125,597 birds, were Broad-wings. Also counted were 24,899 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 8,909 Mississippi Kites, 8,724 Turkey Vultures, and 7,192 American Kestrels.

Most migrating raptors avoid long water crossings, so they follow the coast of the Gulf of Mexico south. For this reason, more birds were counted last fall at Veracruz, Mexico — 812,949 — than at any other watch site. Corpus Christi, Texas, also on the Gulf coast, tallied 226,224.

Read an article about the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch.

Other count totals from last year: 15,862 at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, Minnesota; 4,151 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area, Ontario; 4,811 in the Goshute Mountains, New Mexico; and 2,777 at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch.

Read an article about the Florida Keys Hawkwatch.

The Hawk Migration Association of North America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance scientific knowledge and promote conservation of raptor populations through the study, enjoyment, and appreciation of raptor migration.

Two maps that show where to look for Golden Eagle in fall.

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Hawk watching in the Manzano Mountains of New Mexico.

See a list of fun birding events taking place in September.

 

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