Rap­tor count 6 per­cent be­low 10- year av­er­age

17,012 rap­tors counted over 1,000 hours

The Hamburg Area Item - - Local News - From Hawk Moun­tain Sanc­tu­ary As­so­ci­a­tion

In au­tumn 2017, Hawk Moun­tain tal­lied 17,012 rap­tors in over 1,000 hours of ef­fort. The over­all to­tal was 6% be­low the 10- year av­er­age.

Four species were spott ed i n above- av­er­age num­bers, in­clud­ing tur­key vul­tures, bald ea­gles, broad- winged hawks, and pere­grine fal­cons. The broad- winged hawk to­tal count, 10,726, was 36% above av­er­age, with four days of 1000 plus broad­wings in Septem­ber. This above av­er­age count for the species helped buoy the to­tal rap­tor count to just 6% be­low av­er­age, de­spite the very low counts of other species.

Two of Hawk Moun­tain’s most abun­dant species, the sharp- shinned and red­tailed hawk, were recorded in low num­bers, 46% and 52% be­low the 10- year av­er­age re­spec­tively. Sim­i­lar dips in num­bers were seen in other reg­u­lar mi­grants, as well. Par­tic­u­larly no­table was the 90% be­low av­er­age count of the north­ern goshawk, a species that has de­clined in num­bers for sev­eral years; this year’s count is the low­est on record.

Some dips in num­bers can be at­trib­uted to the lack of strong cold fronts that con­cen­trate mi­grants in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber, along with the warmer weather in north­east­ern states. The above av­er­age tem­per­a­tures may have al­lowed some species to re- main north longer, and they may still be seen mi­grat­ing past the look­outs af­ter the of­fi­cial hawk watch sea­son.

The first bird of the sea­son was a broad- winged hawk, and the last of­fi­cial bird of the sea­son was a ju­ve­nile bald ea­gle. This book­ends an im­pres­sive sea­son for both species. Coun­ters also spot­ted a rare, light morph rough­legged hawk on Novem­ber 11.

Non- rap­tor mi­grants also were in lower num­bers than av­er­age with 51,954 other birds counted, com­pared to the av­er­age of over 65,000. A to­tal of 68,112 non- rap­tors were counted, in­clud­ing 2,434 but­ter­flies and 707 dragon­flies. Coun­ters tal­lied al­most 2,200 monarch but­terf lies this sea­son, in­clud­ing a oneday count of 270. Other high­lights in­clude a cou­ple of “red- let­ter” war­bler days and 1,334 tree swal­lows on Septem­ber 26. The most abun­dant non- rap­tor species for the 2017 sea­son was the Canada Goose, with 19,931 counted.

For count de­tails for the 2017 au­tumn sea­son, visit hawk­moun­tain.org/rap­tor­count.

The 2,500- acre Hawk Moun­tain Sanc­tu­ary is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and is open to the pub­lic year- round by trail-fee or mem­ber­ship, which in turn sup­ports the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion’s rap­tor con­ser­va­tion mis­sion and lo­cal- to- global re­search, train­ing, and ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams. To learn more about Hawk Moun­tain or other pro­grams, please call 610- 756- 6961 or visit www.hawk­moun­tain.org.


In au­tumn 2017, Hawk Moun­tain tal­lied 17,012rap­tors in more than 1,000hours of ef­fort.

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