Hawk Watch, April 3-5

Hi all,

I’m excited to be back in Mackinaw City this spring to fill in for Kevin Georg counting raptors for the rest of the season. Hopefully I can continue his legacy!

I arrived on Sunday, April 2 and was immediately greeted by a couple large kettles of raptors at the Darrow’s count site and temps in the 50s which is something I have not often experienced in Mackinaw City.

April 3 was my first day official day as counter and it was unfortunately rained out after just 2 hours. But we (Ed Pike, Bryant Eddy, and I) still had some decent numbers.

Turkey Vulture – 54
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
Red-tailed Hawk – 37
Rough-legged Hawk – 4

April 4 was rainy throughout the morning but at 2:00pm it finally cleared up and I was able to get in a couple hours of counting, which produced a decent variety despite low numbers.

Turkey Vulture – 16
Northern Harrier – 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 3
Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 4
Rough-legged Hawk – 1

April 5 was my first full day of counting. It was a pretty nice day with low easterly winds and temps in 40s, though it didn’t feel all that warm due to 100% cloud cover. A nice amount of Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures pushed through. Highlights include 2 dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawks and at least 6 Northern Red-tailed Hawks. Non-raptor highlights include 9 Greater White-fronted Geese that flew over.

Turkey Vulture – 118
Bald Eagle – 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 10
Red-shouldered Hawk – 2
Red-tailed Hawk – 326
Rough-legged Hawk – 4

Here are some photos from April 5 that I managed to get. As you may imagine, it’s often difficult to get a good photo of a migrating raptor.

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Adult dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus)

Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)

Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)

Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)

Adult Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola)