Feeling 22!

As we near the mid-way point in May our raptor banding season is still going strong! My last update was on April 28th and at that point we stood at 121 total captures on the season. Including today we now stand at 183 total captures of 7 different species. Now let’s dive into some of the exciting news from the past couple of weeks.

On April 29th we were able to add a new species to our station and this species was… drum roll please… a Rough-legged hawk (RLHA)! We then captured another RLHA on May 2nd. Both of these birds were juvenile females. Being that they are young and won’t breed this summer they are in no rush to get back to the arctic and this explains why we caught these birds so late in the season.

On April 29th we also had a surprising and once in a lifetime capture. We caught an adult Red-tailed hawk that was already banded and aged this bird to be at least in its 6th year of life. When we got the report back it turns out this bird was originally banded Nov 6th 1999 in Southern Ontario making this bird at least 22 years old! As it stands this recovery puts this bird in the top 10 for oldest RTHA ever recovered/recaptured. We are still awaiting specific information on the bird as it could be even older. This is by far one of the most exciting birds I have ever captured. This also helps add to our understanding of a species longevity one of the many things we learn from banding birds. In case you are wondering what the oldest RTHA ever recovered was, the answer is 30 and this bird was also recovered in Michigan.

22 year old Red-tailed Hawk recapture. This bird was banded on Nov 6th 1999 near Sparta Ontario. It is now in the top 10 for oldest of its species to ever be recovered.

As we approach the end of the season the flight has mainly turned into young birds and our captures reflect that. We mainly are catching young red-tails and young sharp-shinned hawks. It is also interesting to note that we already have surpassed last years total of 177 captures. The weather looks like it is going to continue to be great over the weekend and into next week, so I’m assuming that the flight and captures of birds will remain consistent as we approach the big 200 bird milestone!

2021 Spring Season Totals

57 + 2 (foreign) Sharp-shinned Hawk

4 Merlin

5 Northern Harrier

3 Coopers Hawk

1 Red-shouldered Hawk

108 + 1 (foreign) Red-tailed Hawk

2 Rough-legged Hawk

Season Total: 180 New 3 Foreign

Grand total = 183

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about new articles


Job Opportunities

The Raptor Watch needs your help: are you good with graphic design? Ever wanted to layout a newsletter? The Raptor Watch is looking for a volunteer to help with our Talons newsletter four times a year.
Join the fun!