Raptors sighted at recycling center
STAMFORD — North Stamford resident Michael Gorman found himself in a Hitchcockian scene on Sept. 19 when he followed the sounds of a bald eagle to the Scofieldtown Yard Recycling Center.
Gorman, a self-proclaimed “nature enthusiast,” identified the calls of a bald eagle as he was driving through Stamford. He pulled into the recycling center to take photos of the eagle, but it flew away as soon as he pulled up.
What he witnessed then was “several dozen” Cooper’s hawks, red-tailed hawks and American kestrels swarming about the area.
“I tried taking pictures, but I’d focus on one, and one would fly right in front of me. They were just all around,” he said.
There’s no definitive answer to why so many raptors would be in one place. The city’s Recycling and Sanitation Department said raptors don’t normally hang out there. The most likely answer is that Sept. 19 was a big migration day for hawks in the area.
“My educated guess is that he happened to pass by there when there was a big move during migration,” said Tom Andersen, communications director at the Connecticut Audubon Society. “This is the time of year when they migrate, and they can migrate in waves, so it’s not incredibly unusual to see a lot of these raptors at one time.”
This day seemed to have particularly good migratory conditions, as 667 raptors were also spotted at Quaker Ridge in Greenwich at one time, according to a birding log used by Connecticut Audubon.
They migrate in large numbers, Andersen said, to take advantage of the wind and heat from the sun, which causes thermals (pockets of warm air).
“The birds use the thermals to rise high into the sky, and then they take off to the south,” he said.