Raptor Banding Season Summary 2021

“Jack” the last RTHA to get a transmitter.

Season Summary:

Spring migration banding for diurnal raptors began on March 29th and ended on May 30th. A total of 52 days of trapping resulted in the total capture of 228 birds of 8 species. The two most commonly captured species were Red-tailed hawk (RTHA, Buteo jamaicensis) with 150 newly banded birds and two foreign recaptures and Sharp-shinned hawk (SSHA, Accipiter striatus), with 57 new individuals banded and two foreign recaptures.

SpeciesTotal Number Captured 2021Total Number Captured 2020
Merlin: (Falco columbarius) MERL46
American Kestrel (Falco spaverius) AMKE04
Cooper’s Hawk: (Accipiter cooperii) COHA34
Northern Goshwak (Accipiter gentilis) NOGO03
Sharp-shinned Hawk: (Accipiter striatus) SSHA5966
Red-shouldered Hawk: (Buteo lineatus) RSHA12
Rough-legged Hawk: (Buteo lagopus) RLHA21
Red-tailed Hawk: (Buteo jamaicensis) RTHA15288
Broad-winged Hawk: (Buteo platypterus) BWHA12
Northern Harrier: (Circus cyaneus) NOHA68
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysateos) GOEA01
Season Total:228185
Table 1. Comparison of species totals between 2020 & 2021 Season:

Red-tailed Hawk Movement Ecology Project:

This season MSRW’s raptor banding expanded into a new project to study RTHAs. This spring 11 GPS/GSM data transmitters were outfitted onto eleven adult RTHA’s between April 1st and April 17th. The goal of this project is to document the full cycle migration of RTHA’s through the straits and great lakes region, and to help us better understand how the great lakes influence RTHA’s migration. Nick Alioto will be using this data to write his thesis over the next few years at Michigan State. To date, eleven birds have already collected over 20,000 GPS points along with corresponding behavioral data. Of the eleven RTHA’s, seven are currently in Northern Ontario. The remaining four RTHA’s have not sent a transmission since their last location. The last location for those four birds was in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Map 1). I will provide updates along the way on the continued journeys of our RTHAs. We also plan to deploy more units during the next spring banding season in 2022 so stay tuned!

Map 1. Most Recent Locations of all 11 GPS tagged RTHA’s

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