As my time on the island in coming to and end, many people are interested in the numbers so far. In general, my species variety has been what I expected. Broad-winged Hawks lead the numbers game with 3,879 so far, followed next by Red-tailed Hawks with 2,358. The next most common are Turkey Vultures at 2,087 and Sharp-shinned Hawks at 1,737. Those four species are and will remain the only ones with counts over 1,000.
As many people are interested in eagles, I have counted 326 Bald Eagles this season and 59 Golden Eagles. Questions and conversations about eagles are my most common with visitors up at Fort Holmes. People who are not avid bird-watchers still seem to have stories of an eagle nest or seeing one catch a fish or fly over their car. It’s not surprising considering their size, physically and psychologically in our society! Many visitors are surprised however to hear that Golden Eagles can be seen in the Midwest, and it is a great opportunity to talk about the ranges of our various raptors and how they migrate to and from their breeding grounds. It has been more than a week since my last Golden Eagle, so I am not expecting any more. I am still seeing migrating Bald Eagles, adults and immatures alike.
The rest of the species counts so far are,
- Osprey: 49
- Northern Harrier: 74
- Cooper’s Hawk: 26
- Northern Goshawk: 4
- Red-shouldered Hawk: 64
- Rough-legged Hawk: 220
- American Kestrel: 50
- Merlin: 15 (I also know of a nesting pair on the island)
- Peregrine Falcon: 6