Fall Raptor Count: Week 12

Week 12 of the fall hawk count has come and gone. This week saw 684 raptors cross the Straits. Red-tailed hawks accounted for 488 sightings or 71% of the total. It was also a good week for rough-legged hawks, with 58 observations.

11/7 saw the highest numbers for the month of November thus far despite snow showers on and off throughout the day. 351 birds passed through with a good amount of diversity- 270 red-tailed hawks, 40 bald eagles, a season high of 19 golden eagles, 11 rough-legged hawks, seven red-shouldered hawks, one broad-winged hawk, one American kestrel, and one merlin.

11/9 saw a season high of 25 rough-legged hawks, including four dark morphs.

There have also been a couple sightings of broad-winged hawk with damaged flight feathers on 11/7 and 11/11. This is an incredibly late sighting- our last observation of a broad-winged hawk was 10/16! Broad-winged hawks are one of the earlier migrators; they begin their migration to Central and South America in early September and peak migration numbers are usually seen in mid-September. Broad-winged hawks do not build up fat storage for this trek, so they take advantage of the strong thermals seen in September.

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