100 Captures!

“Rowan” one of GPS tagged Red-tailed Hawks

This past week the raptor banding station has been quite slow, due in part to the fact that we have been closed for 3 days, including today. Despite that we still were able to catch some birds and actually reached our 100th banded raptor on the 18th. On this date last season we were just around 55 captures so we our doing phenomenal to say the least!

The main species we have been capturing over the past week are primarily Sharp-shinned hawks (SSHA) and Red-tailed hawks (RTHA). As the season progresses and as we approach May, we are beginning to see the arrival of some younger birds of both these species moving through. During the first couple weeks of the season, we were only catching adults, and this makes sense because these birds want to get back to their breeding grounds first in order to set-up a territory and find a mate. Now we are starting to get some young adults and juveniles. These younger birds aren’t in as big of a rush to get back to their breeding grounds because either they will try to compete for a territory and won’t get one or they simply are to young to breed. It is always amazing to document the change in species and age classes as the migration season moves forward.

This past week also saw the arrival of the first Broad-winged hawks of the season. Although we did not capture any it is always a delight to see these long-distance migrants return North from their South American wintering grounds.

In other news all of our 11 GPS tagged RTHA’s are on the move with 5 currently far North in my homeland of Ontario, while others are still in the Upper Peninsula, or at least they were at the time of their last transmission. My next blog will be an update on where all our RTHA’s currently are since their last transmission.

Our 100th Raptor of the season and our 63rd Red-tail. This is a stunning 2nd cycle bird. Meaning it still has some retained Juvenile Flight feathers mixed with it’s first set of adult feathers. Note the eye transitioning to a nice dark chestnut brown which is seen on older adult RTHA’s.

2021 Spring Season Totals

28 + 2(foreign) Sharp-shinned Hawks

1 Merlin

3 Northern Harriers

2 Coopers Hawks

1 Red-shouldered Hawk

63 Red-tailed Hawks

Season Total: 98 New 2 Foreign

Grand total = 100

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