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  The Publication of the Hawk Migration Association of North America
                Volume XXXIII, No. 1— September 2007   rough-legged hawk by Vic berardi
recently fledged Merlin                                      recently fledged Merlin

   feMale oSprey at neSt                                        feMale oSprey at neSt

                           all photoS on thiS page are digiScope iMageS by iain Macleod
Scanning The Ridge                                                                      Hawk Migration Studies
                                                                                        Volume XXXIII, No.1, September 2007
    Fall is one of my favorite times of year.                                           Editor: Carolyn Hoffman
Like most of you I like nothing better
than sitting on a ridge and looking to the                                              Design/Layout: Iain MacLeod
northern sky, straining my eyes for those                                               Front Cover Photo: Vic Berardi
tell-tale specks that we love so much. I have                                           Back Cover Photo: Jason Sodergren
to say that I particularly love those colder
late-season days when the chilly north wind
might bring a Golden Eagle or Northern
Goshawk, and the adult Sharp-shins are
skimming the spruce tops, fresh from their                     photo: Maynard wheeler
                                                                                        In This Issue:
boreal forest summer sojourn.                                                           Scanning The Ridge
    Here in New Hampshire -- as elsewhere in the east -- we are seeing                  by Iain MacLeod......................................... 1
dramatic increases in Cooper’s Hawks and Merlins, both as nesters and                   HMANA Officers, Directors,
migrants. Ospreys continue to expand their nesting range, with many                     Committees and Staff ....................... 2
choosing to take over heron nests in upland beaver pond rookeries. Bald
Eagles are re-colonizing our larger lakes and our Peregrines are holding                Welcomes and Introductions .............. 2
their own and seem stable. It’s a different story with American Kestrels.               Wind Turbine Guidelines
They continue to vanish from our dwindling grasslands, and our handful                  by Gil Randell .............................................. 3
of breeding Northern Harriers hang on tenuously. The Golden Eagle,
                                                                                        Wind Turbine Web of Worry
although slowly increasing in the Canadian Maritimes to our north and a
                                                                                        by Will Weber.............................................. 4
more frequent fall migrant here, has yet to recolonize the White Mountains.
    Three years into the Raptor Population Index project we are close to                U.S. Wind Power Ranking .................... 5
publishing The State of North American Birds of Prey -- a pivotal tome co-              HMANA/RRF Conference ...............6-7
edited by Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza -- that will summarize what we know                    RPI Update
about raptor population trends. See page 11 for a preview.                              by Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza ...................8-9
    I am anxious to participate in the first RRF/HMANA Conference in
                                                                                        Monitoring Advisory Council
September. An American Kestrel Symposium will likely answer many of
                                                                                        by Will Weber............................................... 9
our questions about this charismatic little falcon. See page 7 for a complete
agenda for the conference. I hope to see many of you there.                             Recent Extralimital Raptor Reports
    We count because we care. We want to quantify and analyse because we                by John Galluzzo ....................................... 10
are compelled to confirm our hunches (or prove wrong those of others).                  SNABP -- A Preview
New challenges await. How are our raptors adapting to a changing climate?               by Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza ................ 11-12
Will their migration patterns and breeding ranges change accordingly? On
                                                                                        Eastern Flyway Report
page 10 of this issue John Galluzzo explores some recent extralimital raptor
                                                                                        by Seth Kellogg .................................. 13-24
reports (a natural follow-on to the article about White-tailed Hawk records
in New England in the last issue).                                                      Central Flyway Report
                                                                                        by Vic Berardi ..................................... 25-39
    I hope that the skies over your watch site are full this fall. Thank you for
all that you do for our raptors.                                                        Western Flyway Report
                                                                                        by Carolyn Hoffman ........................... 40-46
                                                                                        Gulf/Caribean Report
                                                                                        by Eileen Muller Guerra ................... 47-50
Iain MacLeod                                                                            Pacific Flyway Report
iain.macleod@nhnature.org                                                               by Fran McDermott ........................... 51-59
                                                                                        Data Use Policy .................................... 60
                                                                                        Membership Form ................................ 60
                                                                                        HawkCount .............................................. 60

                                    Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                                     
HMANA                                                                              News & Notes
Hawk Migration                                                 Welcome John Weeks and Eileen Muller Guerra
                                                                  Please welcome two
Association                                                    new people to HMANA.
of                                                             John Weeks is the new
                                                               membership secretary,
North America                                                  and Eileen Muller
To advance scientific knowledge and                            Guerra is the new flyway
promote conservation of raptor populations                     editor for the Gulf and
through study, enjoyment, and appreciation                     Caribbean flyway.
of raptor migration.                                              John Weeks, HMANA’s
                                                               new membership
Chair .......................... Iain MacLeod (Ashland, NH)    secretary, has been a
Vice-chair........................Gil Randell (Mayville, NY)   birder since the early
Secretary ..................Jason Sodergren (Homer, AK )       1960’s. After a detour into graduate school and college-level teaching
Treasurer ................Art Slaughter (Mississauga, ON)      (Russian language and literature), he returned to his first love, birds, in the
Membership ..........John Weeks (North Granby, CT)             early 1990’s.
                                                                  John discovered hawk watching in the fall of 1998, when he clambered
Directors:                                                     up to the lookout on Mount Tekoa in western Massachusetts. Peering
Vic Berardi (Gurnee, IL)
Susan Fogleman (Campton, NH)
                                                               through one half of an inferior pair of binoculars (humidity had fogged
Laurie Goodrich (Orwigsburg, PA)                               the other side), he gazed in awe as a flight of 3000 Broad-winged Hawks
Steve Hoffman (Bozeman, MT)                                    passed silently high overhead. He says he was equally astonished by the
Kirk Moulton (North Wales, PA)                                 skilled watchers who could both find the birds and count them. From that
Paul Roberts (Medford, MA)                                     moment, John resolved to join this dedicated corps of observers.
Kim Van Fleet (Carlisle, PA)                                      After a forest fire on Tekoa in the spring of 1999, the watch site was
Special Advisors: David Hussell, Will Weber
                                                               moved to Blueberry Hill in Granville, Massachusetts, where John has
HMANA Staff:                                                   been the site coordinator ever since. When Gerry Mersereau passed away
RPI Project Manager ....... Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza             two years ago, John assumed his duties (but says he could never fill his
RPI Data Manager ....................... Jason Sodergren       hawkmaster’s shoes) as membership secretary and treasurer of Northeast
Development Director .............David McNicholas             Hawk Watch.
                                                                                                                     Eileen Muller Guerra
Committees:                                                                                                       is only partly new to
Conference: Laurie Goodrich (chair), Kim Van                                                                      HMANA. She has been
Fleet, Ernesto Ruelas, Iain MacLeod
                                                                                                                  co-editor, with Ernesto
Conservation/Education: Gil Randell (chair),                                                                      Ruelas Inzunza, of the
Laurie Goodrich, Susan Fogleman, Steve                                                                            Gulf-Caribbean flyway
Hoffman, Kim Van Fleet, Will Weber
                                                                                                                  for a year or so now.
Finance: Art Slaughter (chair), David Hussell,                                                                    However, she is now
Iain MacLeod, David McNicholas
                                                                                                                  officially the sole editor
Fund-raising: Steve Hoffman (chair), David                                                                        of the flyway.
Hussell, Iain MacLeod, David McNicholas,
Ernesto Ruelas, Will Weber                                                                                           Eileen became
                                                                                                                  interested in nature at
Membership: Phil Campbell (Chair), Susan
Fogleman, Steve Hoffman, Paul Roberts
                                                                                                                  her family’s shade-grown
                                                               organic coffee plantation in Veracruz, Mexico. She became hooked on
Publications: Paul Roberts (Chair), Susan
                                                               raptors when volunteering at Pronatura’s River of Raptors project in
Fogleman, Carolyn Hoffman, Iain MacLeod,
Fran McDermott, Kim Van Fleet                                  Veracruz, then moved on to become an official hawk counter in Veracruz,
                                                               and later in Michigan and New Mexico. Now she has decided to broaden
RPI: Iain MacLeod (chair), Laurie Goodrich,
Steve Hoffman, David Hussell, Ernesto Ruelas,
                                                               her experience beyond raptor counting by doing fieldwork in different
Jason Sodergren, Will Weber                                    aspects of bird ecology, and she plans to do graduate work in natural
                                                               resource management— but her passion for raptors remains strong.
Web Site: Jason Sodergren, Susan Fogleman,
Carolyn Hoffman, Kim Van Fleet

                                     Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                                 HMANA News & Notes
            Finalizing Wind Turbine Guidelines: An Unfinished Story
                 By Gil Randell, HMANA Conservation and Education Committee Chair
    Four years ago the U.S.                                                                             local governments that
Fish and Wildlife Service                                                                               must make decisions
(USFWS) developed its                                                                                   regarding the proper siting
“Interim Voluntary Wind                                                                                 of proposed projects.
Turbine Guidelines”                                                                                     Further review also
and opened a two-year                                                                                   means what some see as
comment period for their                                                                                an unnecessary, unfair
review. The guidelines were                                                                             and counterproductive
intended to assist the wind                                                                             opportunity for the
industry and local, state and                                                                           wind industry to force
federal permitting agencies                                                                             modifications of the
to avoid serious negative                                                                               current voluntary guidelines
environmental impacts in                                                                                to their benefit and to the
the siting of wind turbine                                                                              detriment of important
projects. Now, two years           MeyerSdale wind farM near the allegheny front hawk watch, pa         natural resources.”
after the comment period                                                        photo: wayne Sierer
                                                                                                           Shortly after HMANA
closed, the guidelines are still “interim” and “voluntary.”          sent its comments regarding the delay in finalizing the
    HMANA built its brief position statement on wind                 guidelines, the USFWS determined that its proposed
power development on the USFWS interim guidelines                    collaboration with the wind industry and others fell afoul of
(see www.hmana.org), because at the time those guidelines            the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Enacted by
constituted one of the best guidance documents for turbine           Congress in 1972, FACA was designed to ensure that advice
siting in North America. They still do.                              to the executive branch from advisory groups formed by
    The USFWS guidelines recommend that developers                   Congress and the President be objective and fully accessible
of turbine projects avoid known bird migration pathways              to public scrutiny.
and daily movement flyways, avoid features of the                       After regrouping over the last year and designing a
landscape known to attract raptors (such as ridgelines and           process that would be consistent with FACA, in March 2007
coastlines) and avoid documented locations of any species            Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the
protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.                  formation of a wind turbine advisory committee. In April
The guidelines further recommend collecting three years              2007, HMANA Board Chairman Iain MacLeod requested a
of preconstruction study data in areas of high seasonal              formal role in the review process, writing, “Because of the
concentrations.                                                      documented risk to raptors, night-migrating neotropicals
    Apparently bowing to industry pressure to revise the             and bats posed by improperly sited wind turbine projects,
guidelines, USFWS agreed in the fall of 2005, a few months           the finalization of USFWS guidelines to assist federal and
after the close of the comment period, to enter into                 state agencies, developers and local municipalities in their
another review process to arrive at a consensus-based set of         decision-making processes is critically important. I’m writing
guidelines. This collaborative process would include wind            to request that a representative from HMANA be included
industry representatives and advocates.                              on the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory committee that
                                                                     will be working on the USFWS guidelines.”
    HMANA voiced its concerns about this delay in
establishing final and binding guidelines and the anticipated           If HMANA’s request for formal participation is denied,
modifications to those guidelines in a letter of February            the HMANA conservation and education committee will
2006. Board Chairman Will Weber wrote, “The Hawk                     be involved in the guideline review and revision through
Migration Association of North America has concerns                  the review’s public participation process. In any event,
about the USFWS decision to enter into further review                the conservation and education committee will keep the
prior to finalizing USFWS guidelines for siting wind energy          HMANA membership and others informed about the
projects. Further delay in making the interim, voluntary             process and its progress through HMS and through our
guidelines permanent and binding means a continued                   Web site www.hmana.org.
lack of clear, unambiguous federal guidance to state and
                                 Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                
                                HMANA News & Notes
          Wind Turbines Spin a Web of Worries for Hawk Watchers
                                       Will Weber, former Chair of HMANA

   Not every one sees wind turbines as clean, ecologically       in the absence of any research proving turbines safe for
safe, energy machines. Some hawkwatchers across North            migrating birds and bats.
America fear wind turbines may be the biggest man-made               Champions of migratory birds are worried about the
threat to raptors, other birds and bats since DDT caused         scarcity of adequate pre-construction studies. At any
massive population declines from the end of World War II         location, the presence of wind-loving migrants varies by
until the 1970’s when it was banned. Unfortunately, many of      species, time of day and year, weather, and vegetation
the windiest locations preferred by wind energy developers       conditions, so adequate study of collision risk requires
are already being used by migratory birds and bats that          observation through whole seasons and several years, not
never evolved navigation mechanisms capable of dealing           the limited hours of non-expert observation typically cited
with huge swirling blades.                                       in most feasibility studies. Hawkwatchers, who do observe
   Each spring and fall thousands of hawkwatchers seek           all day, every day, season after season and year after year, are
windy lookouts on ridge tops and shorelines to monitor           very concerned about the lack of scientific rigor in typical
the breeze-driven migration of about 30 species of hawks,        preconstruction studies, a lack of rigor allowing conclusions
eagles and other large birds. Rather than unobstructed views     that fail to paint an accurate picture of risk.
of gliding raptors, many of these observers are now looking          Deficient pre-construction studies at the wrong time
at new wind turbines or formerly wooded sites being cleared      of year or day or in the wrong weather may not detect
for turbine development. The vision is frightening.              migrating birds in the area at all. Experienced migration
   While corporate, municipal and utility interests favoring     observers will tell you that more than 50% of the total
wind turbine development tend to minimize potential              seasonal passage of some species may occur in just a few
damage to birds, no convincing scientific studies support        days or even hours, and it would be at these times of high
arguments that wind turbines                                                                    density migration when deaths
in migration corridors are safe.                                                                would most likely occur. These
Quite the contrary; mounting                                                                    few hours of migration are
evidence suggests birds and                                                                     an easy window to miss for
bats are at risk of fatal collisions                                                            poorly designed or executed
with turbine blades. In recent                                                                  preconstruction studies.
testimony before the U.S.                                                                           Young birds may be
Congress, Dr. Michael Fry of                                                                    particularly susceptible
the American Bird Conservancy                                                                   to destruction when they
concluded that by the year 2030                                                                 encounter a wind turbine for
as many as 1.8 million birds per                                                                the first time. Hawkwatchers
year could be killed by wind                                                                    know hatchling year birds are
turbines.                                                                                       less agile flyers but represent
   Hawkwatchers are not                                                                         a large fraction of the migrant
opposed to wind turbines                                                                        population. Last year a wind
sited in locations carefully                                                                    turbine project off the coast of
selected to minimize the chance                                                                 Norway was particularly fatal to
of collisions. The recurrent                                                                    immature sea eagles. The poorly
experience of many groups,                                                                      sited project all but eradicated
however, has found local                                                                        the resident population of
municipalities and turbine                                                                      white-tailed eagles, killing nine
proponents unwilling to compel                                                                  eagles in 10 months, including
adequate siting studies or even                                                                 all the region’s first-year birds,
to accept the possibility that                                                                  and apparently causing the
wind turbines are capable of                                                                    decline of breeding pairs in the
posing dangers to wildlife. This                                                                vicinity from 19 to one pair.
                                                             photo: erneSto ruelaS inzunza
unwillingness persists even
                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                                 HMANA News & Notes
    Raptor biologists caution that even if birds learn to divert   the day. Little is known about their susceptibility to wind
around wind turbines, doing so may require extra energy or         turbine collisions, although recent post-construction studies
expose them to other risks. For example, many raptors do           at a 120-turbine project on the Tug Hill plateau in New
not like to fly over water where they loose thermal lift or        York State found much higher songbird mortality than
are exposed to predation from other raptors. Some species          anticipated, more than 2,000 birds in one year. The same
critically depend on strong updrafts along shores or ridges        project also killed many more bats than expected, with
where winds often are best for turbine operation                   nearly 6,000 bats killed over the same year.
    Wind turbines are most efficient when the winds are               Wind turbines have become symbols of the quest to
strong. But the windiest days present the greatest threat to       provide abundant power without pollution or carbon
migrating raptors. On windy days blades spin faster, slicing       emissions. For many of us, however, they are a disturbing
the same area more times per minute. Birds that soar and           repetition of mankind’s tendency to naïvely and fanatically
migrate at great heights in light winds will be forced to fly at   embrace new and wonderful but poorly understood
much lower levels and will have less control of their flight       technologies. Without understanding the potential downside,
in heavy winds or in the erratic bluster of an approaching         we want to jump to the conclusion that something so
storm front. For many species, these are preferred migration       powerfully good must be able to solve our problems and
conditions, presuming the absence of 400-foot tall sky             make life better. This was the naïve hope for DDT, until
slicers in their path.                                             we realized the dark and slippery downside of dramatically
    Hawkwatchers find their own concerns echoed in the             altering the chemistry of our biosphere.
experience and alarm of bat observers. Bats’ sonar may                Wind turbines might make economic sense in some
signal safe passage ahead just as a turbine blade suddenly         situations, but we must avoid placing them where they could
cuts them in half. Songbirds, migrating unseen at night,           cause ecological catastrophes.
often follow the same migration corridors as raptors in

                   U.S. Wind Power Ranks Third in Global Capacity
     U.S. wind power capacity jumped 27% in 2006, the
largest incremental jump on record and the highest
incremental capacity in the world, a U.S. study found.
According to a Department of Energy report, the U.S.
ranked third globally in 2006 in cumulative wind power
capacity with 11,575 megawatts. Germany was first with
20,652 MW, followed by Spain with 11,614 MW.
    Despite ranking third in 2006, the U.S. lags far behind
global leaders Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Germany
in the percentage of electricity consumption from the
wind power we generate. The U.S., France and China were
all under 1% of projected wind power production as a
percentage of overall electricity consumption in 2006.
    Denmark leads the world with 21.4% of its electricity
supplied by wind power and is often held up as an example
of wind power’s potential. But critics stress that the Danes
can only use about 16 percent of the power produced by its
roughly 6,000 windmills.
    “One of the greatest challenges is the siting of electric
transmission corridors to support wind power generation,”
said Bernie Lesieutre, a power electronics professor at
the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has worked                     a newly build turbine near altoona pa. the coMbined
extensively on power transmission issues.                                     height of tower and rotor iS More than 400 feet
                                                                                                          photo: wayne Sierer

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                           
                                     HMANA News & Notes
Wind Power Ranking . . . continued                                     The DOE report also noted that the cost of wind
   “Long lines will be needed to send ‘wind by wire’ from           turbines has been increasing since 2002, reversing a decline
locations with the greatest potential to distant population         in the cost of wind power projects and raising the price
centers,” he added. “Transmission siting has long been              tag for generating wind power. As the installation of wind
a difficult process that often involves different state and         farms grows, the cost of wind turbines is actually increasing,
federal agencies, and concerned private citizens’ groups,           the DOE study found. One reason, Wiser said, is that most
any of whom may question the value of a project passing             turbine equipment produced by market leaders like General
through their area for which they perceive they will not            Electric’s Wind unit and Germany’s Siemens is priced in
receive direct benefit.”                                            euros. Currency fluctuations have made the equipment more
                                                                    expensive when paid for in U.S. dollars.
   Still, said Lesieutre, “The technology is here.”
                                                                       This information for this article was taken from a longer
   The long-term goal of the Bush Administration is to
                                                                    piece in the EETimes, a publication about the electronics
meet 20% of American energy needs through wind power.
                                                                    industry for engineers and technical managers. Please visit
Berkeley Lab’s Wiser said the 20% goal “appears to be
                                                                    www.eetimes.com and search for wind power to find a series
technically and economically feasible.” For now, wind
                                                                    of articles about this issue.
power accounts for 0.8% of U.S. electricity generation.

           Kettling On The Kittatinny
     Joint meeting of the raptor research foundation and
      the hawk Migration association of north america
                    September 12-16, 2007
Are You Coming to the Conference?
   Are you coming to the conference? The first joint                   Field trips to some of the area’s best raptor and birding
meeting of the Raptor Research Foundation and the                   spots are planned, including to Bake Oven Knob and
Hawk Migration Association of North America will be                 Lehigh Gap Nature Center on Wednesday, September 12.
held September 12-16 in Foglesville, Pennsylvania. The              Trips to see broad-winged hawks are planned for September
conference is hosted by nearby Hawk Mountain Sanctuary              12 and September 16, with the location to be determined
and will be held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center of            by the migration. Possible sites for these excursions are
Lehigh Valley.                                                      Scotts Mountain (NJ), Rose Tree Park, Militia Hill or Bake
   Called Kettling on the Kittatinny, the conference will feature   Oven Knob. A field trip to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is
two scientific symposia. The first is a one-day symposium           planned for Friday, September 14. Morning birding trips for
on “Are American Kestrels in Decline?” on Thursday,                 songbird migration are planned for September 13-15.
September 13. The second will be a one-day symposium on                Non-birding trips available are a canoe trip on the Lehigh
Saturday, September 15, on the state of North American              River on September 12, and trip to Mill Grove, the home of
birds of prey, with invited presentations. A proceedings will       John James Audubon, on September 12 and September 16.
be published and distributed to all attendees.                         A raptor art show and reception is planned for Friday
   The meeting will kick off with a keynote address by Pat          night at Muhlenberg College’s newly finished “green”
and Clay Sutton, long-time naturalists whose names are              science center. More activities will be an auction, awards
synonymous with Cape May, New Jersey. Their keynote                 and the banquet on Saturday evening. If you haven’t yet
address is “Raptors in Time and Space” and is more loosely          registered, do so today to ensure your attendance at this very
subtitled, “Cape May Connections—some obvious and                   special event. Visit www.conferenceoffice.com/raptor to
some not so obvious—to the bigger, wider, wonderful                 sign up now!
world of raptors.”

                              Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                        Conference Schedule of Events (Tentative)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007                               12:15 p.m. -5:30 p.m.    field trip to hawk Mountain and
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.          hMana directors Meeting                                     the acopian center for
                                                                                     conservation learning with box
                         rrf directors Meeting                                       lunch and other trips
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.       bake oven knob hawk                6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.      garden party and raptor art
                         watching trip                                               Show at Muhlenberg college
                         lehigh river field trip                                     Science center and acopian
                         Mill grove – home of John James                             center for ornithology, drinks
                         audubon                                                     and food provided
12 p.m. - 6 p.m.         Vendor Set-up
12 p.m. - 7 p.m.         registration                       Saturday, September 15
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.          icebreaker reception, cash bar     6 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.       breakfast buffet (optional)
                         and hors d’oeuvres                 6:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.    Morning birding trip
                                                            7 a.m. - 10 a.m.         registration
Thursday, September 13                                      8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.   general paper Sessions and State
6 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.       breakfast buffet (optional)                                 of north america’s birds of prey
6:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.    Morning birding trip                                        Symposium
7 a.m.- 5 p.m.           registration                       10:30 a.m. -10:50 a.m.   coffee break
8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.    announcements                      10:50 a.m.-12:20 p.m.    general paper Sessions and State
                         and introductions                                           of north america’s birds of prey
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.    keynote address by pat
                         and clay Sutton                    12:20 p.m. - 2 p.m.      lunch break
9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.    coffee break                       	       	        	       Shawn	Carey’s	film	on	
9:50 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.   general paper Sessions and
                         american kestrel Symposium         2 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.       general paper Sessions and State
                                                                                     of north america’s birds of prey
12:10 p.m. - 2 p.m.      lunch break
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.          general paper Sessions and
                                                            2 p.m. - 4 p.m.          Vendor take-down
                         american kestrel Symposium
                                                            3:20 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.    coffee break
4 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.       coffee break
                                                            3:50 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.    general paper Sessions and State
4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.    rrf business Meeting
                                                                                     of north america’s birds of prey
                         hMana business Meeting                                      Symposium
4:15 p.m. - 6 p.m.       poster Set-up                                               Special address by ian
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.          pat and clay Sutton book-Signing                            newton, recipient of a special
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.       poster Session and reception,                               hawk Mountain conservation
                         cash bar and hors d’oeuvres                                 award
                                                            6:15 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.    cocktails, cash bar, auction ends
Friday, September 14                                        7:15 p.m. -10:30 p.m.    Meeting banquet and awards
6 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.      breakfast buffet (optional)
6:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.   Morning birding trip                Sunday, September 16
7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.       registration                        8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.       hawkwatching and other trips
8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  general paper Sessions              8:30 a.m.                post Meeting tour to cape May
                        workshop on count protocols                                  departs (returns tuesday p.m.)
                        by ernesto rueslas inzuna
10:30 a.m. -10:50 a.m. coffee break                         to see any updates to the planned schedule of events,
                                                            please visit www.hmana.org.
10:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. general paper Sessions

                               Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                      
                                HMANA News & Notes
                          Raptor Population Index Project Update
                                                 Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza

Introduction                                                     of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Avian Knowledge
                                                                 Network, a federation of independent observational data
   This is an update of developments of the Raptor
                                                                 sets whose aim is to archive, expose, visualize, and analyze,
Population Index Project (RPI). The aim of RPI is to
                                                                 datasets for scientific, educational, and conservation
determine population trends of migratory raptors using
                                                                 purposes. Soon, data posted in HawkCount.org and
migration counts. Specifically, RPI’s goals are: (1) To
                                                                 released by the owners will be available in some of the
produce statistically defensible indices of annual abundance
                                                                 largest biological datasets in existence worldwide, such as
and calculate long-term population trends from as many
                                                                 the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the
sites as possible, (2) To make these results widely available
                                                                 National Biodiversity Information Infrastructure (NBII) and
to participating count sites, the scientific community,
                                                                 available for conservation and research purposes.
conservation agencies, and the public.
                                                                    In the meantime, RPI continues growing its own archives.
   RPI is a joint effort of the Hawk Migration of North
                                                                 HawkCount.org currently holds data from 183 established
America, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and HawkWatch
                                                                 sites (during autumn 2006 alone, over 80 sites contributed
International. It is operated by four staff and supervised by
                                                                 daily records) and the first fully-developed 22 site profiles
two committees listed at the end of this report.
                                                                 of its new Monitoring Site database will soon be available in
                                                                 RPI’s Web site. HawkCount.org now contains records of
RPI in the National                                              over 50 million raptors recorded across North and Middle
Conservation Scenario                                            America.
    The RPI team is collaborating in several regional and
national conservation and bird monitoring initiatives,           RPI Analyses
inserting much-needed information on the trends and status          The RPI team is currently working on the first synthesis
of raptors into policy documents and active conservation         of migration count data available for population trend
networks. The Northeastern Coordinated Bird Monitoring           analysis. This winter, Laurie Goodrich led a team of
Partnership, a large coalition of federal and state agencies,    volunteers to complete the data entry of western and Gulf
academic institutions and non-for-profit organizations,          sites from paper forms into electronic format and into
is generating a region-wide strategy for bird monitoring.        HawkCount.org. With this, Laurie has helped more than
RPI presented its model of coordination, and Ernesto             10 different sites to transfer 15-30 years of data and make
Ruelas and David Mizrahi currently work on the migration         them available for analysis. Chris Farmer has completed the
and raptor sections of the strategy. During a workshop           analysis of these data sets from 22 migration sites across
recently held at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in        Canada, United States, and Mexico.
Ithaca, New York, Ernesto presented the scope of RPI and            What is next? The RPI team will soon begin the analysis
delivered a report summarizing raptor population trends for      of seven spring monitoring sites. Data entry is almost
USFWS Region 5 prepared by Chris Farmer.                         finished for Fort Smallwood, Maryland; Montclair, New
    The recently-released report Opportunities for Improving     Jersey; Derby Hill, New York; Braddock Bay, New York;
Avian Monitoring (February 2007), prepared by the U.Ss           Grimsby, Ontario; Manzano Mountains, New Mexico, and
North American Bird Monitoring Initiative’s Monitoring           Whitefish Point, Michigan.
Subcommittee, highlights RPI as one of six model
continent-wide surveys with a taxonomic-group focus.             NFWF Grants Third Year of Support
                                                                 for RPI
HawkCount.org and its Connections to
                                                                    The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
Biological Data Warehouses                                       approved a challenge grant of $101,515 dollars for year
   Data-sharing is responsible for progress in many              three of the Raptor Population Index Project. In order to
scientific disciplines. The research and conservation            access these funds, RPI will need to raise a total of $62,116
communities are learning this quickly, and building the inter-   dollars from non-federal sources and to commit additional
connectedness of independent databases to allow access to        in-kind resources for the completion of this phase of the
data is key. In April 2007, HawkCount.org became a partner       project.

10                           Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                                 HMANA News & Notes
   The goals of year three include the dissemination              Goodrich (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary), Stephen W.
of trend and conservation status information, further             Hoffman (Montana Audubon), Steven T. Kelling (Cornell
participation in conservation initiatives, maintenance            Lab of Ornithology), David Mizrahi (New Jersey Audubon
and development of enhanced, user-friendly reporting              Society), Bruce Peterjohn (United States Geological Survey),
capabilities of HawkCount.org, and comparison of spring           Jeff P. Smith (HawkWatch International).
and autumn trends. At the end of this phase, the RPI
team expects the machinery that sustains RPI, from field          RPI Personnel:
data collection to data analysis to the delivery of results for      Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza, RPI Project Manager, HMANA,
online users of HawkCount.org, will fill the information gap      ruelas@hmana.org; Christopher J. Farmer, North American
on raptor population status that we faced in 2005.                Monitoring Coordinator, HMS, farmer@hawkmtn.org;
                                                                  Laurie J. Goodrich (HMS) goodrich@hawkmtn.org; and
HMANA received NMBCA Grant |                                      Jason Sodergren, HawkCount Database Specialist, HMANA
to Support RPI                                                    jason@taiga.com.
   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical
Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), has approved             For further information, contact the RPI Project!
a grant of $83,050 dollars for RPI. The RPI team will use         Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza
these funds to continue our operations beyond the end of          Hawk Migration Association of North America
the NFWF grant in mid-2008. This is a challenge grant with        Cornell Lab of Ornithology
a 3:1 matching requirement, and in order to access these          159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850
funds, the RPI team needs to raise $253,799 by mid-2009.          ruelas@hmana.org
                                                                  Tel. (607) 254-2464
Thank you!
   The achievements of RPI would not be possible without
your continued support! This is a citizen scientist-driven
project and is only possible with your submissions of hourly      Monitoring Advisory Council
data to HawkCount.org. Please help us keep the flow of
data and keep your and your site’s contact information
                                                                  Seeks Participants
current in HawkCount.org.                                            Informal discussions continue to shape the goals and
                                                                  composition of a Monitoring Site Advisory Council, first
   Your financial support is also key to RPI’s success.
                                                                  initiated last fall by the HMANA Board.
Since August, 2006, RPI has received donations from 65
generous donors. The average donation amount is a great              The Monitoring Council will be composed of HMANA
reflection of commitment to RPI: over $490! (Donations            members representing raptor watches around the country
range from $10-10,000 dollars). We can not access the full        and provide a forum for discussing any topics related to
grant amount offered by NFWF and NMBCA without your               organizing, managing hawk watches and reporting and
assistance. Please help us continue to make RPI a program         utilizing site data and observations.
for timely raptor monitoring. For a complete list of donors          To date, formative communication has been only
of RPI (2005-2006), please see the most recent issue of           through e-mail, though a more interactive discussion of the
Hawk Migration Studies (Volume 32, Issue 2, page 16).             Monitoring Advisor Council concept is scheduled for the
                                                                  joint HMANA/RRF Conference in September. Ongoing
Management Committee:                                             affairs of the Monitoring Council will include conference
                                                                  calls, an e-mail listserve and articles here in Hawk Migration
  Keith L. Bildstein, Chair, Stephen W. Hoffman, David J.T.
Hussell, Iain MacLeod, Jeff P. Smith, Will Weber.
                                                                     To receive further updates on this project, or to present
                                                                  your comments or ideas, contact any of the HMANA
Science Advisory Committee:                                       committee members on the council: Will Weber (weber@
   David J.T. Hussell, Chair (Ontario Ministry of Natural         hmana.org), Gil Randell (janngil@fairpoint.net) or Susan
Resources), Jonathan Bart (United States Geological               Fogleman (Fogleman@mvgalaxy.com). Watch BirdHawk for
Survey), Keith L. Bildstein (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary),            further announcements.
Charles M. Francis (Canadian Wildlife Service), Mark
                                                                  Will Weber
R. Fuller (United States Geological Survey), Laurie J.
                                 Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                           11
                                With An Eye on Raptors
                               Recent Extralimital Raptor Reports
                                                      By John Galluzzo
    Tried and true hawkwatchers usually know what to
expect when they set up their scopes as the sun rises out of
the east. Their counterparts – tried and true raptor migrants
– appear as expected each season, with usually minor but
acceptable changes in annual numbers. Occasionally, though,
hawkwatchers are awakened from this annual routine
when a rare raptor species is found outside of its expected,
scientifically-determined and historically-supported range.
    As evidenced from several recent examples, the pace
of territorial expansion and/or vagrancy for some raptor
species seems to be picking up. The 2007 spring migration
produced several stunning examples of extralimital reports
by raptors around North America.                                                      Snail kite, riMini, South carolina, May 17, 2007
    For instance, on May 14, 2007 retired United States Air                                                      photo: lloyd Moon
Force officer Lloyd Moon discovered a Snail Kite feasting
on crawfish at a local crawfish farm near Rimini, South              These two examples add to a growing list of out-of-range
Carolina. He returned to take pictures and chatted with           adventurers in recent years. The Short-tailed Hawk, once
the landowner about the bird’s rarity and its safety. The         relegated to southern Florida, has been seen enough times
landowner, though losing enough crawfish to keep the bird         in Arizona and Texas “that New Mexico birders have been
satiated and happy, assured Moon that no harm would come          on the lookout for it,” according to Edward S. Brinkley in
to the bird, and in fact allowed local birders to visit it. The   American Birding. Those New Mexicans got their wish on
snail kite is federally endangered due to its small population    June 28, 2005 when a short-tailed hawk was photographed
and is found entirely in southern Florida, although it is         in the Animas Mountains. A White-tailed Hawk, a bird with
common throughout Latin America. This bird was the                a northern range of southern Texas, was reported in Hadley,
first of its species to be recorded anywhere north of             Massachusetts, and at the Great Swamp National Wildlife
Florida. According to the Cape Romain Bird Observatory,           Refuge in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, in April 2006.
“It is presumed to have been forced to leave its breeding            Unusual movements like those listed above beg to be
grounds in South Florida due to the extreme drought and           analyzed. Are these birds being driven northwards simply
accompanying wildfires.”                                          by weather or by survival instincts? Are the various habitat
    A Crested Caracara was briefly spotted and reported           threats facing all North American animals – habitat loss,
by Whit Manter in West Tisbury on the island of Martha’s          habitat fragmentation, competition from invasive species,
Vineyard in Massachusetts on the exact same day, Monday,          to name a few – forcing these birds to find new lands to
May 14. Nine days earlier hawkwatcher Chris Brown reported        inhabit? Are we seeing documentary evidence that global
seeing a Crested Caracara at Sandy Hook, New Jersey,              climate change is causing these birds to push into uncharted
which was also seen later that day in Atlantic Highlands. On      territory, seeking preferred climates that may or may not
Martha’s Vineyard on the 14th, Manter quickly called for          provide the sustenance they need for survival? Or, simply, is
back-up birders to support his sighting, but the bird flew        population growth ever pushing the borders of range wider
before anyone else could arrive or before a camera could          and wider for these species?
be produced. The sighting, though, was not the first one in          No matter what the reason, the fact is that hawkwatchers
Massachusetts history, as birder Rob Finch had made a similar     should now, more than ever, keep their eyes on the sky.
report from inland Middleboro, Massachusetts, in January          Recent history has proven that one never knows what might
1999. This second sighting, coupled with research into recent     be flying by at any given moment during raptor migration.
reports of territorial expansion in Texas and appearances in         [Editor’s Note: Since this article was written, yet another
other northern locales (Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, South          extralimital Snail Kite was seen, this one in south Texas near Port
Dakota and others), has led the Massachusetts Avian Records       Isabel on July 1, 200. That sighting prompted another person to
Committee to reverse its negative ruling on the first sighting    report seeing what he took to be a Snail Kite in the same location a few
and to add the 1999 bird to the state’s official list.            years before this latest sighting.]

12                           Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
             The State of North American Birds of Prey: A Preview
                                                  Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza
    The RPI Management and Science Advisory Committees                Directory of Raptor Migration Sites (Zalles and Bildstein 2000)
met in Hawk Mountain’s Acopian Center for Conservation                also part of the BirdLife International Conservation Series.
Learning in late January of 2007 to evaluate the                         A good portion of the RPI meeting earlier this year was
developments of our project. After the meetings were over,            focused on a similar landmark project: The State of North
part of the team was able to meet for dinner in a restaurant          American Birds of Prey, a book to be published later this year
close to Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.                                    that contains a first comprehensive synthesis of RPI results. In
    There, I sat next to Bruce Peterjohn, a wildlife biologist        this report, I will describe the scope and contents of this book,
with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research          present an outline of its contents, and make a projection of its
Center and active member of the RPI Science Advisory                  significance into the bird conservation literature.
Committee. Bruce and I talked about population monitoring,
                                                                      The Book
and he brought to my attention the publication of BirdLife
International’s Birds in Europe, Population Estimates, Trends, and        Keith Bildstein, chair of the RPI Management Committee
Conservation Status (Burfield and van Bommel 2004) for which          and Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at Hawk
he wrote a review in The Auk, which included this paragraph:          Mountain, crafted the framework of the book. Bildstein wrote
“Effective bird conservation requires knowledge of distribution,      several years ago: “…Raptors often are logistically difficult
relative abundance, and population trends at multiple scales.         and financially prohibitive to survey and monitor… a lack of
Obtaining this information for a continental avifauna poses           information regarding regional and continental populations of
considerable challenges… synthesizing the available information       many raptors continues to plague management decisions… One
on the status and trends… into a single volume is an enormous         potentially cost-effective method… is sampling their numbers
yet essential task necessary to direct bird conservation activities   at traditional migratory bottlenecks and concentration points.”
across the continent.” (Peterjohn 2006)                               (Zalles and Bildstein 2000)
    The complexity and the challenge of completing                        During the RPI meetings, he reviewed the table of
this endeavor was highly praised by Bruce in his paper.               contents of the book and explained to the RPI team the
How European birds are faring is a mix of favorable                   benefit of having a single reference that contains an update
and unfavorable trends, but alas, the bottom line of the              on our understanding of migration ecology of raptors in
assessment is negative and can be used, perhaps, as a                 North America, a presentation of the rationale and analysis
parameter to evaluate the success of programs aimed to halt           methods behind RPI, the first continent-wide estimation of
European biodiversity loss by 2010.                                   raptor population trends divided into three large regional
                                                                      chapters, and an assessment of the status of each raptor
    Our colleagues in Europe are in their second iteration
                                                                      species monitored based on migration count data as well as
of this decadal assessment. The earlier effort, published
                                                                      its relationships to data from BBS and CBC.
in 1994 (Tucker and Heath 1994), marks the starting point
of this monumental effort, and it is a key reference for                  Such a volume, in his view, can trigger further interest in
European bird conservation.                                           migration monitoring, stimulate the collaboration of more
                                                                      monitoring sites, and recognize the importance of migration
    The scope of North American continent-wide
                                                                      monitoring in support of wildlife conservation. The effort,
population assessments is different, and it is based on the
                                                                      however, should be carefully presented as a starting point,
survey technique used to monitor birds. Publications like
                                                                      not as a final word.
Chandler Robbins and collaborators’ summary of the first
15 years of the Breeding Bird Survey (hereon BBS, Robbins                 Periodic updates to The State of North American Birds of
et al. 1986) are now classic benchmarks in the conservation           Prey (SNABP), enhanced with the participation of more sites
literature. Online resources, such as the Audubon Society’s           with both spring and autumn data and possibly automated
Christmas Bird Count (hereon CBC, National Audubon                    as online reports in real time provided by HMANA’s
Society 2007), and Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Great                 HawkCount, can fulfill the role of keeping a close watch at
Backyard Bird Count (Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2007) are             the state of birds of prey in North America in the future.
also entering the scenario of bird population monitoring.             SNABP will be edited by Keith Bildstein, Jeff Smith, from
                                                                      HawkWatch International, and myself, from HMANA.
    What happens when the focus of interest is in a species
is more complicated, since information on a single species                SNABP, is composed of 14 chapters, written by 21
is dispersed among different surveys and difficult to put             authors. It is the synthesis of data collected from 22
together. The opportunity was envisioned before, when                 migration monitoring sites, for periods of time ranging
Zalles and Bildstein published Raptor Watch, A Global                 between 9-30 years. The book starts with several framework

                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                  1
pieces, a history of raptor conservation in North America            One more closing chapter outlines the future of RPI and
and an extensive chapter on migration ecology.                    monitoring North American birds of prey. Two days of
   The later chapter triggered lots of questions in my            intense discussions and updates of the RPI team were over
mind, because it addresses the issue of North American            at the end of dinner. Bruce promised to do his best to find
population estimates. The chapter contains many updates to        time to come to Pennsylvania again this year for the RRF-
our current knowledge of the migration of many species.           HMANA conference, where a symposium entitled “The
This is essential new information to illustrate what we know      State of North American Birds of Prey” will be the preview
and what we don’t know. Two topics derived from this              to the delivery of this benchmark book.
paper were especially intriguing for me. What is the “starting       For RRF-HMANA conference information, please
reference point” to determine population trends? How does         contact Laurie Goodrich at Goodrich@hmana.org or
one assess the “ideal” population size of each species of         http://www.hawkmountain.org/
raptor in North America?
                                                                  Literature Cited
   This is a key question in a conservation context. Why?
I found an answer in a paper by John Fitzpatrick (2002):              Burfield, I. and F. van Bommel. 2004. Birds in Europe:
“Birds are just like ducks…key to the demonstrated success        Population Estimates, Trends and Conservation Status.
of The North American Waterfowl Management Plan are               BirdLife Conservation Series No. 12. Cambridge, UK.
two elements…a science-based plan incorporating annual                Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. 2007. Great
monitoring and population estimates…priority setting              Backyard Bird Count. Available on-line at http://www.
for habitat conservation…efficient delivery system for            birdsource.org/gbbc/ (viewed 1 July 2007).
conservation action; and… lots of money.” (Fitzpatrick 2002)          Faaborg, J. 2005. Partners in Flight North American
   Three years ago, Rich et al. (2004) published the Partners     Landbird Conservation Plan (Book Review). The Auk
in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan. One of its   122:373-375.
contents is an appendix with North American population                Fitzpatrick, J.W. 2002. The AOU and Bird Conservation:
estimations for each species of land bird and a score of          Recommitment to the Revolution. The Auk 119:907-913.
vulnerability. These estimates have been controversial                National Audubon Society. 2007. Christmas Bird Count.
(Faaborg 2005, Vickery and Shriver 2005), but Terry Rich and      Available on-line at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/
Ken Rosenberg, two of the authors, recognize its limitations      (viewed 1 July 2007).
and stand behind their estimates as the starting point of a           Peterjohn, B. 2006. Birds in Europe: Population
discussion. The migration ecology chapter of SNABP makes          Estimates, Trends and Conservation Status (Book Review).
adjustments and refinements to these estimates.                   The Auk 123:915-916.
   The book’s contents shifts then to the principles and              Rich, T.D., C.J. Beardmore, H. Berlanga, P.J. Blancher,
techniques used in the analysis. Two chapters discuss the         M.S.W. Bradstreet, G.S. Butcher, D.W. Demarest, E.H.
assumptions behind the use of migration counts to monitor         Dunn, W.C. Hunter, E.E. Iñigo-Elías, J.A. Kennedy, A.M.
raptors and a recipe for how to do it.                            Martell, A.O. Panjabi, D.N. Pashley, K.V. Rosenberg, C.M.
   At the core of the book are population trend assessments       Rustay, J.S. Wendt, and T.C. Will. 2004. Partners in Flight
for the East, West and Gulf Coast Regions, for as many            North American Landbird Conservation Plan. Cornell Lab of
species as data are available. An important finding of RPI        Ornithology. Ithaca, New York.
analyses so far is that the American Kestrel has declined             Robbins, C.S., D. Bystrak, and P.H. Geissler. 1986. The
at most monitoring sites over the past 10-30 years. For           Breeding Bird Survey: Its First Fifteen Years, 1965-1979.
the rest of the species, there is a mix of results: increases,    Resource Publication 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
decreases, no change. Estimates of the magnitude of               Washington, D.C.
change over periods varying from one to three decades                 Tucker, G.M., M.F. Heath, L. Tomialojc, and R.F.A.
and interpretations of trends observed are presented for          Grimmett. 1994. Birds in Europe: Their Conservation Status.
each species in each region. The book moves then to a             BirdLife Conservation Series . Cambridge, United Kingdom.
catalog of the sites used in this analysis, a description of
                                                                      Vickery, P.D. and W.G. Shriver. 2005. The Road Map
our information system, HawkCount.org and a set of
                                                                  to North American Bird Conservation. Conservation Biology
recommendations for operating a watch site.
   The interpretation of the results observed is also key
                                                                      Zalles, J. I. and K. L. Bildstein (eds.). 2000. Raptor watch: a
to SNABP: there is a section that contains a conservation
                                                                  global directory of raptor migration sites. BirdLife Conservation Series
status report for each species. These reports synthesize
                                                                  No. . BirdLife International and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
migration count population trend data available, contrast
                                                                  Association. Cambridge, United Kingdom, and Kempton,
this information with data from other surveys, and explore
issues behind the observed changes.
1                           Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                                                                                                                                 Key to Fall 2006 Eastern Sites
Eastern Continental                                                                                                              1. cadillac Mtn. Me       48. State line nJ
Flyway Editor:                                                                                                                   2. South harpswell Me     49. chimney rock nJ
Seth Kellogg                                                                                                                 1

                                                                                                                                 3. pack Monadnock nh      50. Scott’s Mountain

377 Loomis Street,                                                                                         6 5
                                                                                                       7         3
                                                                                                                                 4. interlakes School nh   51. duke farms nJ
Southwick, MA 01077
                                                                                                            14 10
                                                                                                          16 12      9

skhawk@comcast.net                                                                       39
                                                                                             41 2621
                                                                                                   21 23
                                                                                                                         8       5. little round top nh    52. kittatinny Mtn. nJ
                                                                                                    28 30

                                                                                                                                 6. washington nh          53. raccoon ridge nJ
                                                                                            44 423332 34
                                                                                       54 48 43
                                                                                   56 5146 40
                                                                                 60 52 47  45
                                                                                6157 50 49          36
                                                                  68          62        51
                                                             69        66 64 63
                                                  71        70
                                                                                                                                 7. putney Mtn.Vt          54. Sunrise Mtn. nJ
                                                                  72    73 74

                                                                                     7555                                        8. Morris island Ma       55. cape May nJ


                                                                                                                                 9. pinnacle rock Ma       56. kirkridge pa
                                             80                                 82

                                                                                                                                 10. groton Ma             57. buckingham pa
                                   84       86

                                                                                                                                 11. Mt. watatic Ma        58. Militia hill pa
                                  87                                                 89


                                                                                                                                 12. Mt. wachusett Ma      59. rose tree park pa
                                                                                                                                 13. wampanoag Ma          60. little gap pa

                                                                                                                                 14. barre falls Ma        61. pleasant Valley pa
                                                                                                                                 15. Quabbin park Ma       62. bake oven knob pa
                                                                                                                                 16. Shatterack Mtn. Ma    63. hawk Mtn. pa
                                                                                                                                 17. Mt. tom Ma            64. Second Mtn. pa
                                                                                                                                 18. blueberry hill Ma     65. rocky ridge pa
                                                                                                                                 19. Mt. holyoke Ma        66. Meadowood pa
                                                                                                                                 20. peak Mtn. ct          67. waggoner’s gap pa
State Coordinators:                                                                                                              21. torrington ct         68. Jack’s Mtn. pa
CT: Neil Currie 10 Mountain Laurel Road, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.
                                                                                                                                 22. chestnut hill ct      69. Stone Mtn. pa
DE: Ralf & Jennifer Multhopp, 1408 S. Bayshore Dr., Milton, DE 19968
FL,GA,NC,SC,TN: William Haley 215 McFadand Av., Chattanooga, TN 37405                                                            23. botsford ct           70. tuscarora Summit pa
Kentucky, Virginia, W. Virginia: Open                                                                                            24. Johnnycake ct         71. allegheny front pa
ME, NH: Susan Fogleman, 34 Meadow Lane, Campton, NH 03223.
                                                                                                                                 25. taine Mtn. ct         72. washington Monument Md
MA, RI: Paul Roberts 254 Arlington St., Medford, MA 02155.
NJ: Else Greenstone 10 Moss Lane, Cranford, NJ 07016.                                                                            26. booth hill ct         73. cromwell Valley park Md
NY: Drew Panko 14 Dunham Road, Hartsdale, NY 10530.                                                                              27.	Litchfield	CT         74. turkey point, Md
N. Appalachians: Mark Blauer 18 West Hollow Rd., Nescopeck, PA 18635.                                                            28. flat hill ct          75. cape henlopen de
VT: Eric Slayton PO Box 475, Putney, VT 15346.
                                                                                                                                 29. briggs hill ct        76. bear Mtn. farms Va
     The Eastern Continental Flyway includes the Maritime Provinces; New                                                         30. lighthouse pt. ct     77. Snickers gap Va
England; New York (south and east of a line from Jamestown to Utica to the
                                                                                                                                 31. east Shore park ct    78. hughes river Va
north end of Lake Champlain); Pennsylvania (all except Erie County); Mid-
Atlantic States through Georgia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee;                                                          32. Quaker ridge ct       79.	Rockfish	Gap	VA
Florida east of a line from Lake Seminole south to Apalachicola.                                                                 33. waveny park ct        80. harvey’s knob Va
     Geography and topography are major factors in shaping migration dynamics                                                    34. flirt hill ct         81. candler Mtn.Va
in this flyway. The northeast to southwest orientation of the northern North                                                     35. redding ct            82. kiptopeke Va
American coast influences hawks breeding in eastern Canada and New England                                                       36. fire island ny        83. hanging rock wV
to fly southwestward to their wintering grounds and northeastward in the spring.
                                                                                                                                 37. helderberg ny         84. Mahogany rock nc
So too do the predominant mountain ranges. In addition, Broad-winged Hawks
must maintain such headings to circumvent the Gulf of Mexico. The shoreline                                                      38. franklin Mtn. ny      85. bullhead Mtn. nc
presents interesting situations as well. The Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound,                                                  39. Summitville ny        86. pilot Mtn. nc
Delaware Bay, and Chesapeake Bay are major players, presenting a barrier to                                                      40. lenoir preserve ny    87. big bald Mtn. nc
many hawks.                                                                                                                      41. Mohonk preserve ny    88. Mt. pisgah nc
     Looking at it from land, peninsulas such Delmarva, Cape May, and Sandy                                                      42. bear Mtn. ny          89. pea island nc
Hook are funneling points. Away from the shore, the Kitattinny and Appalachian
                                                                                                                                 43. hook Mtn. ny          90. caesar’s head Sc
ridges with their updrafts provide “leading lines” for hawks to follow. The
southeast United States is relatively uncharted territory for hawkwatchers. The                                                  44. Mt. peter ny          91. trezevant’s landing Sc
Carolina and Georgia coastlines feature a myriad of inlets, marshes, and barrier                                                 45. Montclair ny          92. congaree Sc
islands that may disperse migrants somewhat. This contrasts with Florida, which                                                  46. picatinny peak nJ     93. guana reserve fl
funnels to a tip and a chain of narrow islands that cause hawks to once again                                                    47. wildcat ridge nJ
converge in large numbers.

                                                             Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                                           1
Summary                                                                The Osprey had a very poor year at South Harpswell, Maine,
                                                                    managing only 43% of average. Most other species were below
    It was a big season in September and October on the
                                                                    average, though not by so much. Only Bald Eagle, Merlin and
Pennsylvania and Virginia ridges, as well as at Cape May, thanks
                                                                    Peregrine Falcon showed strength. Sharp-shinned Hawk and
to some classic fall fronts with brisk northwest winds behind
                                                                    American Kestrel were very scarce, as they have been every
them that extended for several days. Big flights were on the
                                                                    year since 2000. After two good years the Broad-winged Hawk
southern ridges September 12, on the southern coast October
                                                                    also collapsed.
8-10, and throughout the region October 21–26. Much of
that weather did not reach New England, New York and New               After poor coverage year in 2005, Don Manchester did his
Jersey, so their season was less impressive, though Montclair,      double duty trick to perfection, setting a new hourly high at
New Jersey; and Quaker Ridge and Lighthouse Point, both             Morris Island, Massachusetts. Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawk,
Connecticut, had excellent flights. Much of the peak season         and Red-tailed Hawk set new highs and the Peregrine Falcon
flight was delayed and the Red-tailed Hawk was first delayed        count was very healthy. Only Northern Harrier and Merlin
and then dispersed by hazy, warm weather in November.               disappointed, and it was no fun not seeing a single American
                                                                    Kestrel even when the average is only six a year.
    The season of fall 2006 was big for Northern Harrier,
Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Golden Eagle, hopeful but not
good for Broad-winged Hawk and American Kestrel, and near           New Hampshire and Vermont
average for most other species except Northern Goshawk,                Pack Monadnock, New Hampshire, built on its initial
which was scarce.                                                   success in 2005 with a healthy increase of coverage and was
                                                                    rewarded by an impressive jump in migrant numbers for
North Region Summary                                                every species. The modest gains by Bald Eagle and Merlin
   Fifty-four sites reported watch data, one more than in           were the least of the story as most species doubled, tripled,
2005. A new site was covered in far western Massachusetts on        even quadrupled their numbers. Even the American Kestrel
the border with New York. Matt Malin watched on Alander             was among those that fit this pattern. The biggest increases
Mountain in the town of Washington for more than 51 hours.          were for Cooper’s Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk. Little Round
The only other change involved two watches in west/central          Top, New Hampshire, bounced back from a very mediocre
Massachusetts. The Wampanoag site was not covered at all, but       2005 season, especially in counts of Sharp-shinned Hawk and
the minimal hours were replaced by a brief stint of watching        Cooper’s Hawk. The Broad-winged Hawk and Bald Eagle totals
at Quabbin Park. To correct an error contained in the 2005          were not too shabby, but Osprey continued very scarce. Things
report, the full time watch at Duke Farms, added in 2005,           went the other way at the Interlakes School site in Meredith,
as well as the long-running watch at Chimney Rock, were             New Hampshire, as they failed to hit any flights during their
conducted by the New Jersey Avian Migration Project, not            limited coverage.
New Jersey Audubon.                                                    The new watch in Washington, New Hampshire, just
   The number of major watches (+200 hours) rose from 22 to         about duplicated all its excellent counts from 2005, except
24. Shatterack Mtn., Massachusetts, and Lenoir Preserve, New        for an increase in falcons and a drop in Ospreys. Putney Mtn.,
York, were new to the list, and Morris Island, Massachusetts,       Vermont, was pleased to achieve the complete coverage they
returned after a year’s absence, while Sunrise Mtn., New Jersey,    had been aiming for, though they have been a major watch since
dropped below the threshold. Franklin Mtn., New York,               1998. Almost all numbers were only average, however, except
continued as the top site, even increasing their hours to 901.      for a good Red-shouldered Hawk count and poor counts of
Lighthouse Pt. again was second, though dropping slightly to        Broad-winged Hawk and American Kestrel.
638 hours. Only four sites broke the 500 barrier, with nine sites
in the 350–425 range. Full coverage sites were led per hour by
Quaker Ridge at 31.7, followed by Montclair at 29.6.                Eastern and Central Massachusetts
                                                                       Coverage increased at Mt. Watatic for the third year in a row,
Coastal Maine And Massachusetts                                     but the Broad-winged Hawk count was cut in half, and few
                                                                    other species even approached the average. Only the Turkey
   They did not break as many records as they did in 2005,
                                                                    Vulture and Merlin exceeded that figure.
but the Cadillac Mtn., Maine, crew did quite well enough,
setting new highs for Northern Harrier and Peregrine Falcon.           Mt. Wachusett put in more hours than the previous two
The two smaller accipiters and American Kestrel were below          years combined, but the Broad-winged Hawk dropped from
average. No sightings of Red-shouldered Hawks is not a big          the decent level of 2005 to the cellar-like rate of 2003–2004.
surprise, since they are very rare here. Both Red-tailed Hawk       The Cooper’s Hawk, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon provided
and Bald Eagle made an especially good showing, though not          some positive feedback, but other species were well below
the best ever.                                                      average.

1                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
   Barre Falls remains the only full time site in this area, and it   was outweighed by another poor Sharp-shinned Hawk count.
was a fine season for a number of species, especially Osprey          Osprey was one bright spot, with the best number since 1994.
and Bald Eagle, which set record highs. They again enjoyed            Turkey Vulture set a new record high and Northern Harrier,
a stellar Broad-winged Hawk flight, though it did not match           Red-shouldered Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk were all above
the huge proportions of 2005. The late season was not good,           average. The Broad-winged Hawk total was more then twice
as Red-tailed Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk were in short              2005, but still below average.
supply.                                                                  East Shore Park, Connecticut, hours were the highest in
   The noon-hour watch at Groton had more than its share of           a dozen years, and the counts were up too. It had its most
birds in very limited hours, but Pinnacle Rock suffered through       Peregrine Falcons ever and Red-tailed Hawk tied its season
mostly empty skies and a sharp decline in coverage.                   high total. Turkey Vulture and Cooper’s Hawk were well above
                                                                      average and Sharp-shinned Hawk was at its highest in years.
Connecticut River Valley                                              Osprey and American Kestrel continued scarce, however.
   In its third year, Shatterack Mtn. leaped into the major site         We are not forgetting Fire Island, New York, where Merlin
category with an increase of more than 100 hours of coverage.         is now the main migrant since the American Kestrel started
All three buteos were on the low side, but other species did          going below the radar. At least the ‘pretty’ falcon has been
great, especially Osprey and Northern Harrier.                        stable the last four years. If the American Kestrel had kept
   Coverage was down after four 500+ hour years at Blueberry          dropping like it did in the period 1999-2003, this bird would be
Hill, Massachusetts. Most species were reduced in number with         gone south, more extinct than migrant. The Merlin count was a
the exception of Red-shouldered Hawk, Golden Eagle, and               record high, 33% above average. The Peregrine Falcon had its
Merlin, which set record highs, and Cooper’s Hawk, which just         best year since 1997 at 18% above the average mark. Even the
missed doing so. The Broad-winged Hawk flight was a record,           Sharp-shinned Hawk improved on four years of scarcity, and
record low that is.                                                   the Cooper’s Hawk set a record high. The Northern Harrier
   The Peak Mtn., Connecticut, watcher helped out at                  was at its most plentiful since 1992, but the Osprey stumbled
Blueberry Hill, so missed any Broad-winged Hawk flight, but           badly at 45% of its average
almost all other counts at his Connecticut site were improved
over 2005.
   This region has three traditional sites that deserve more,
but continue to have only modest coverage. Mt. Tom,
Massachusetts, and Quabbin Park both caught decent Broad-
winged Hawk days, while Mt. Holyoke, Massachusetts, missed
that boat.

Western Connecticut
   The nine early season watches did another yeoman job
in this region, recording plenty of Broad-winged Hawks in
almost 400 hours of total coverage (up from 270). Best results
were where the hours were, at Torrington (103), Botsford (90)
Chestnut Hill (65) and Flat Hill (48). Hours at Johnnycake,
Taine Mtn., Booth Hill, Litchfield, and Briggs Hill ranged            oSprey                                 photoS: JoSeph kennedy
from 6 to 26. Botsford took first prize for most Osprey, Sharp-
shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, and American Kestrel.
Most of the few Red-tailed Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawks
were at Torrington, which counted the most Cooper’s Hawks.
Johnnycake had the most Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers,
and Merlins, as well as an early Golden Eagle and an amazing
roughleg. The big Broad-winged Hawk flights of years past
are still a memory here.

Coastal Connecticut & Coastal New York
   All falcons were miserably few at Lighthouse Point, with
American Kestrel at 39% of its average and barely above
half of the 2005 total. Another good Cooper’s Hawk count

                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                               1
Southwest Connecticut                                                 consistent, so the low per-hour rate for non-broadwing/
   The climb back from the disaster of 2003 is now complete at        vultures is significant. The Broad-winged Hawk was slightly
Quaker Ridge. Broad-winged Hawks reached five figures and it          below average, but every other species was well below the mark,
was the best per-hour count for non-Broad-winged Hawks and            especially so for Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and
vultures since full time watching began. Counts were impressive       American Kestrel.
across the board, including a record 24 Golden Eagles. The               The per-hour passage for all species at Hook Mtn. remained
American Kestrel count was only a little above average, but           low for the fourth year in a row. The vultures and the Golden
we’ll take it. Cooper’s Hawk easily doubled its average while         Eagle set impressive record highs, and most other species
setting a record high. A normally modest goshawk count was            were above average, especially for recent years. The weakness
the only technical blemish on a marvelous season.                     was shown in Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, and
   Hours increased to a record level at Flirt Hill and the count      Broad-winged Hawk.
of American Kestrels, a feature at this site, was double the             Mt. Peter is the third site in southern New York with long
2005 total and in the same ballpark as the 2002 figure. Every         term, consistent coverage, and completes the poor picture
regular species except Turkey Vulture was above average, and          here. Counts were similar to 2005, though slightly lower
most were record highs. Most notable were Bald Eagle and              overall. Improvements for Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk,
Red-shouldered Hawk.                                                  and American Kestrel, were offset by surprising declines in
   There were low numbers at Redding, but also limited hours.         Cooper’s Hawk, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon, as well as a
The sixth year of watching at Waveny Park was the best by             steep drop-off in Red-tailed Hawks.
far, with a big Broad-winged Hawk flight and robust counts
of Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and even American Kestrel.             Northern New Jersey
Hours were up, but not enough to reduce the significance of               It was a heartening season at Montclair with per-hour counts
the good numbers.                                                     up substantially, in fact above average for non-Broadwings/
                                                                      vultures. Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk,
Hudson Valley and Central New York                                    and Peregrine Falcon led the charge with record-setting flights,
    The Helderberg watch managed another big jump in effort, but      while the Osprey, Northern Harrier, and Merlin totals were
the migrant numbers did not follow suit. Only the Bald Eagle showed   also impressive. Even Sharp-shinned Hawk and American
improvement and Broad-winged Hawks suffered a big drop.               Kestrel were only slightly below average. Only the Red-tailed
                                                                      Hawk was especially weak.
    A modest increase in hours at Summitville led to a big
jump in Bald Eagles and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a good                   The Osprey was in good supply at Picatinny Peak and Bald
non-broadwing/vulture per hour rate even though the Red-              Eagle set a record high, but overall and for most species it was
tailed Hawk count was low. Broad-winged Hawks were more               an average season. Again, the Red-tailed Hawk was the main
numerous, but Turkey Vultures and Ospreys did not show.               sign of weakness, aided by a below average Red-shouldered
                                                                      Hawk count.
    Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks improved at Franklin
Mtn., with the former nearly equaling the count record set in             Coverage was down again at Wildcat Ridge, which may have
1995. The Red-tailed Hawk total fell short of the 2003 count,         helped the per hour rate, but a better Broad-winged Hawk
and was still only 55% of the huge flight of 1995. Most other         flight also played a big part, along with improved counts for
species were on a par for recent years except for American            most species except, yes, Red-tailed Hawk.
Kestrel, which had its poorest season since 1997, and Osprey,             There were more hours at State Line and a lot more Ospreys.
which was on the low side. Despite the late season coverage,          Their sudden appearance is a mystery, but perhaps it is for
goshawk and Rough-legged Hawk were few.                               the same reason as vultures, a difficulty in separating out
    The huge increase in coverage brought Lenoir Preserve             non-migrants. Accipiters and Broad-winged Hawks did well,
into the major site category, and records for Turkey Vulture,         American Kestrels poorly.
Bald Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, and Red-                   The New Jersey Avian Migration Project (NJAMP) has a
shouldered Hawk were the good result. There were plenty of            distinguished record and now an official name, with Chris
Broad-winged Hawks and Merlins, but most species counts               Aquila continuing as Director. The watch at Chimney Rock
were only average, and the Red-tailed Hawk was very scarce.           has now completed its 16th year. The 2006 counts were an
Mohonk Preserve also watched for a lot more hours, and                improvement over 2005 for every species except vultures,
increased their per-hour rates over 2005, though they were still      although the increases were slight in many cases. Northern
below average. The only record counts were for Bald Eagle             Harrier and Red-tailed Hawk were up the most compared to
and Cooper’s Hawk.                                                    recent years, and even American Kestrel had a higher count
    Except for 2004 the Bear Mtn. coverage has been extremely         than 2005. The second year at Duke Farms, 4.3 miles west of

1                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Chimney Rock, again showed fewer migrants than its sister site,   Chesapeake Bay
though the Broad-winged Hawk counts in 2006 were similar.            Cape May finally showed signs of recovery from the six years
Falcons were about 30-40% of the count at Chimney Rock,           of low counts in the new century. The Cooper’s Hawk has not
and most other species ran at about 50-75%. Comparing the         been a problem, showing steady increases each year recently,
two years at Duke Farms, most species were startlingly close,     setting new records each time, but the Sharp-shinned Hawk
except for pretty healthy increases in Northern Harrier, Sharp-   has remained weak until 2006. American Kestrel dropped a
shinned Hawk, and Broad-winged Hawk numbers.                      bit from 2005, but was well above the disastrous 2003 season.
   Scott’s Mtn. had a slightly better year than 2005 with         Merlin and Peregrine Falcon continue clawing their way back
Northern Harrier and Sharp-shinned Hawk showing good              to former heights. Among the buteos, Broad-winged Hawk
improvement, along with Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon,          had its best fall since 1996, but the late season big ones fell to
which both set a record season high. Bucking the trend,           levels below respectability. It was a decent year for Osprey and
American Kestrel had its second good year in a row.               Northern Harrier, and a record high year for Bald Eagle.
   Hours were down at Sunrise Mtn. to the lowest point since         The Sharp-shinned Hawk did astoundingly well at Cape
1995, and the Broad-winged Hawk took the biggest hit. Bald        Henlopen, Delaware, more than doubling the 2005 count and
Eagle was also on the low side, but most other species did        breaking the record high set in 1997 by nearly 50%. Bald Eagles
pretty well.                                                      and Cooper’s Hawks were also seen in record numbers and
   It was the best year since 2000 for Broad-winged Hawk at       they had the most Peregrine Falcon since 1996. The Northern
Raccoon Ridge, but even that was well below average. Osprey,      Harrier had its best year since 1999, more than double the 2005
Red-shouldered Hawk, and American Kestrel were also down,         count. Ospreys and Merlins were also plentiful. The American
while the Bald Eagle set another record high. It was the best     Kestrel declined a bit, but was still nowhere near the dismal
year for Sharp-shinned Hawk since 1996, while Golden Eagle,       2002-2004 years.
Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon all enjoyed sterling fights.            In its third year Cromwell Valley Park, near Baltimore,
   After a nice season in 2005, Kittatinny Mtn. fell on hard      enjoyed a big Broad-winged Hawk season, a robust increase
times, with only the Red-tailed Hawk showing any significant      in Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks and American
improvement. Except for the Osprey, all other species             Kestrels, while still counting a good number of Ospreys. The
declined, especially Northern Harrier and Merlin.                 Bald eagle set a record high by one bird. On the weak side
                                                                  were Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk,
                                                                  Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon.
South Region Summary
   There were 40 watches reporting watch data in 2006, five
more than in 2005. Eight sites were added, some after lapses,
such as Bullhead Mtn., Congaree, Pea Island, and Pilot Mtn..
New sites were Big Bald Mtn. in north-central North Carolina,
which recorded 120 hours, Hughes River Gap east of Luray,
Virginia, for 52 hours, Bear Mtn. in Monterey, Virginia (29
hrs), and Cove Mtn., Pennsylvania, northeast of Harrisburg (9
hrs). Rocky Ridge, Pennsylvania, was lost again after returning
in 2005, as was Guana Reserve, Florida. Trezevant’s Landing,
South Carolina, recorded no migrants in three days of August
   Four sites watched for more than 900 hours, topped by
the amazing and maybe crazed crowd at Waggoner’s Gap,
Pennsylvania, who watched for nearly 1200 hours. Hawk Mtn.,
Pennsylvania, was a little over 1100 and Second Mtn., also
Pennsylvania, a little below. There were five in the 650-800
range, four in the 400-550 range, and eight from 200 to 350.
For inland sites with full coverage, Rockfish Gap, Virginia,
was best with 46.4 per hour, followed by Caesar’s Head, South
Carolina, and Little Gap, Pennsylvania, at 37.8. Cape May, New
Jersey, was at 63 per hour.

                                                                  red-tailed hawk                          photo: JoSeph kennedy

                                 Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                               1
   The 2005 season at Turkey Point, Maryland, was most              Northern Harriers since 1999. American Kestrel was low for
definitely not one of falling numbers, as was printed in last       the fourth straight year, but other species were near average.
year’s report. That analysis was leftover from the 2004 season.         Little Gap tallied its second best ever Broad-winged Hawk
In 2005, coverage was back up and so were the counts, led by        count along with improved totals for most other species. This
Sharp-shinned Hawk and all three falcons. In 2006 the flight        included setting records for Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, and
faltered a bit, except for record numbers of Cooper’s Hawks,        Red-shouldered Hawk. After a new record in 2005, the Red-
Red-shouldered Hawks, and Merlins. The Broad-winged Hawk            tailed Hawk fell back considerably.
and American Kestrel were in short supply.
   Kiptopeke, Virginia, had a mostly down season, starting          Southern Kittatinny
with the fact they ceased counting vultures. After a very partial
                                                                       Eagles made the front page at Second Mtn., with both
recovery for American Kestrels in 2005, they returned to the
                                                                    species breaking the 100 mark and then some for the first
meager levels of 2003-2004. Merlin and Peregrine Falcon
                                                                    time. Just about every other species had a fine season as well,
counts were also a bit low. Red-tailed and Red-shouldered
                                                                    including vultures. Even the American Kestrel increased from
Hawks literally scraped the bottom of the barrel, they were so
                                                                    two very poor years, though it was far from a good count.
scarce. Bald Eagles dropped precipitously, and even Ospreys,
Northern Harriers, and Cooper’s Hawks showed declines.                 The Cooper’s Hawk and Merlin provided the big fireworks
The best Sharp-shinned Hawk count since 2001 was the only           at Waggoners Gap, the former breaking the 1000 mark and
glimmer of light.                                                   the latter the 100 mark for the first time. Turkey Vultures also
                                                                    reached a new level, while the Red-tailed Hawk had its best year
                                                                    since 1999. The Sharp-shinned Hawk remained at a high level
Eastern Pennsylvania                                                despite dropping some from 2005. Even the American Kestrel
   The Broad-wingedSEPT project in Pennsylvania reversed            improved to again record their second highest count. Most
a three-year trend with its most productive week since 2001.        other species were flirting with their impressive average and
Pleasantville led the way with over 6000 Broad-winged               Red-shouldered Hawk was the only slight disappointment.
Hawks, but the other five sites also had flights from 1000             Tuscarora is Pennsylvania’s last window on the fall flight,
to 2400. Other species also showed well with record highs           and they too had a good season. It was their third best Broad-
for Northern Harriers, Cooper’s Hawks, and even American            winged Hawk count, just a few shy of the 1993 total, and they
Kestrels. After a good initial season, a single day at Kirkridge    broke their Bald Eagle record with 57 birds, 20 more than
was not productive.                                                 the previous high set in 2005. The Cooper’s Hawk count was
   Militia Hill missed the biggest Broad-winged Hawk flights        doubled and the Sharps-shinned Hawk count was 50% better
and Red-tailed Hawk counts hit a new low, but all other species     than 2005. The only count dropping from 2005 was Golden
did quite well, including record numbers of Osprey, Bald Eagle,     Eagle, by one.
Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Cooper’s Hawk.
   It was another improved year at Rose Tree Park as well,          South-Central Pennsylvania
especially for record-setting Northern Harriers and Red-               Coverage hours were down for the fifth straight year at Jack’s
shouldered Hawks. Bald Eagle was a surprise poor-show and           Mtn., but counts still improved for a number of species, notably
Broad-winged Hawks were a disappointment, but other species         Sharp-shinned Hawk and Broad-winged Hawk. The American
were at or a little above average.                                  Kestrel count remained decent for the second year in a row,
                                                                    but Red-tailed Hawk took another deep hit, likely because there
Northern Kittatinny                                                 were only four days of coverage after October 19.
   Coverage was back down a bit, but not most of the counts            Stone Mtn. reversed a declining coverage trend, but not
at Bake Oven Knob, Pennsylvania,. Especially impressive             enough to improve most numbers, especially Cooper’s Hawk,
were Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk,           Red-shouldered Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk. This was
Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Golden Eagle,               despite significant late-season hours. Northern Harrier and
and Merlin. Most were record highs or very close to it over         Broad-winged Hawk were the bright spots, with substantial
the span since 1992. The only species that was below average        increases.
was American Kestrel.                                                  Allegheny Front is the coverage king in this area, increasing
   After three especially poor years, it was good to see the        to a very high 900+ level. They enjoyed a spectacular Broad-
Broad-winged Hawk in good numbers again at Hawk Mtn. It             winged Hawk flight, the best in the state and their best ever by
was their second highest total since 1986. They also managed        far. Both eagles also reached new record marks. Other numbers
another record for Merlin, just topping the mark set in 2005.       were close to the 2005 figures and close to average, except
Their other new high mark was for Golden Eagle. They enjoyed        Peregrine Falcon, which continued at a high level.
their best Sharp-shinned Hawk flight since 1998 and the most
20                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Southern Ridges                                                        Mahogany Rock has been covered longer and for more
   Washington Monument, Maryland, had its best Broad-              hours. They have had about the same number of Broad-winged
winged Hawk year since 1987. The Cooper’s Hawk total set a         Hawks (2300–3000) for five years running, a record unmatched
new record, and Sharp-shinned Hawks had their best season          anywhere for consistency. Other species have varied in numbers
since 1996. Merlin and Peregrine Falcon were noted in record       and 2006 was good for Sharp-shinned Hawk (best since 1994)
numbers, and the Golden Eagle had an excellent season. Other       and Cooper’s Hawk (best since 1995). They had their best ever
species were about normal, though Red-shouldered Hawk and          Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon counts. American Kestrels
Red-tailed Hawk were on the low side.                              and Northern Harriers were more than usual too.
   The good ridge counts held true at Snicker’s Gap, where             Bullhead Mtn. also is in this area, and reported some hours
the Sharp-shinned Hawk count was the best since 2001 and           after not being heard from for four years. In 30 hours of
the Red-tailed Hawk count the best since 1999. Bald Eagle          watching results were not bad.
numbers were high for the third straight year, and the Merlin          Big Bald Mtn. is a new site farther west and they had more
was well above average. Other species were about normal with       hours than Pilot Mtn. — and more migrants. Broad-winged
a healthy Broad-winged Hawk flight.                                Hawks were fewer, but they had an impressive array of other
   Rockfish Gap, Virginia, had a big Broad-winged Hawk year,       species, most notably an excellent count of Merlins.
edging out Allegheny Front, Pennsylvania, for the best in the          A bit farther south is Mt. Pisgah, which, on fewer hours
east. It was the best for the site since 1999. The Sharp-shinned   than 2005, improved its accipiter and Broad-winged Hawk
Hawk also provided plenty to talk about, 50% better than 2005,     numbers. Coverage only fell back slightly from a high of almost
the most since 1988, and the third best total ever. They set       200 hours in 2005.
a new record for Bald Eagle and Red-shouldered Hawk, and               Continuing south and across the South Carolina border
even the worrisome American Kestrel came through with an           in the mountains, Caesar’s Head is our final outpost, and a
impressive count, second best ever to 1986. Add a Red-tailed       productive one it was. They dropped below 300 hours, but
Hawk total that made back to back good years, and you have         still had a big Broad-winged Hawk flight. Other species were
a season to remember.                                              average to a bit low.
   Virginia produced two new pioneering sites in 2006. Hughes          Heading toward the coast, Pea Island returned strong after a
River Gap was an early season site with full day coverage, while   year of no reports, and there were an abundance of accipiters
Bear Mtn. Farm was covered on some days throughout the             and falcons to count. Add in more than a few Ospreys and
season, only once longer than two hours a day. They did well       Northern Harriers, and you have a good season’s work.
on Sharp-shinned Hawk and Broad-winged Hawk, but Hughes                Congaree reported after a two-year absence, but numbers
River had a greater variety of species.                            there were sparse except for vultures.
   Hanging Rock improved its Broad-winged Hawk count
compared to a poor 2005, and set a new record for Bald Eagles.     Species Accounts
They had their best Sharp-shinned Hawk total since 1987.
                                                                      Unless noted, all of the comparison figures mentioned below
Osprey and Red-tailed Hawk were scarce.
                                                                   refer to the ten-year per-hour average of species counted at all
   It was a record year for Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern           watches in the north and south regions. During that period, the
Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon at            overall coverage at watches has been an extremely consistent
Harvey’s Knob. As if that was not enough, they came close          mix of sites with only slightly varying intensity of effort.
to breaking the Golden Eagle and American Kestrel records.
                                                                      The September weather in 2006 was still a bit quirky with
Even Sharp-shinned Hawk was at a high level, while the Broad-
                                                                   weaker fronts and lots of east winds before and after coastal
winged Hawk count was better than the previous three years.
                                                                   storms, especially in the North. There were more strong
It helped to have their biggest coverage year ever, breaking
                                                                   westerly winds, but not enough to provide a real concentration.
the 700 mark.
                                                                   The storms and east winds did not hit the south so badly and
   Candler Mtn. did its early season Broad-winged Hawk             the west winds had more of an effect in keeping the birds over
thing to perfection, making it three years in a row they have      and along the ridges and coastlines
recorded just over 6000 of the little buteos. Other species
                                                                      After a big year in 2005 the Black Vulture settled back to
were unremarkable.
                                                                   below average in the north. The Turkey Vulture has been
Far South                                                          steadily increasing over the last four years in the north, but at
                                                                   5% above average has still not returned to the level of 1998-
  Three sites stand guard on the Virginia border in North          2000. Changing protocols in the south have turned the vulture
Carolina. Farther east is Pilot Mtn., where the Broad-winged       data into a mess. The steep drops reflect mostly that counting
Hawk flight was the best since 1997 and over twice the 2005        was stopped at two major sites.
count. Not bad for just over 100 hours of coverage.
                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                              21
Pre-Season Totals
8/16-9/9 (2006) - 8/14-9/8 (2005) - 8/15-9/9 (2004)
year hours           oS           be         nh                 SS         ch           bw            ak            Ml            ph
06       3014      1970         546          436              1922         425         3903          1171           251           4.0
05       3511      1922         596          445              1536         468         3699          1528           174           3.2
04       3042      1871         538          330              1304         354         4684          1127            98           4.0

    In the north the Osprey halted its four-year decline and             It was an especially poor year for goshawks, in fact the
climbed back to match its ten-year average. In the south it was      worst ever. There has been a clear every-other-year cycle in
the fourth year of a gradual increase to a point 10% above           the north with highs in 1999 and 2001. The south experienced
the ten-year average.                                                good flights in those same years, but any other pattern is hard
    The Bald Eagle reached a plateau in 1996 and remained level      to see.
in the north until 2001. It jumped up in 2002 and again in 2004          The Red-shouldered Hawk had a strong season in the north,
to a point where it has been fairly steady now for three years.      posting a 19% increase over 2005. It was 27% above the 10-
In the south it held level for three years 1999-2001. In 2002        year average, with the best per-hour figure since 1999. In the
it jumped to a higher level where it was steady for three more       south 2005 was the better year, followed in 2006 by an average
years. An increase in 2005 was followed by another in 2006.          flight, representing a 17% drop in numbers.
    After two poor years in the north, it was an excellent season        A full recovery to previous numbers for the Broad-winged
for the Northern Harrier, increasing by 42% over 2005 to a           Hawk, may not be possible. The per-hour figure in the north
point 8% above the ten-year average. The south was up by             for 2006 was 23% below 2005 and the ten-year average. After
21%, but only matched its ten-year average. The yearly swings        three years of even worse results, the south region in 2006 did
have been greater for this species than most others, perhaps         provide some hope. It was the best flight there since 1987 and
reflecting varied nesting success. The trend has been down,          29% above the ten-year average.
however, since the mid ‘80s. The average over the last ten years         The alternating weak and strong year pattern for the Red-
compared to the decade of the ‘80s shows a 43% decrease in           tailed Hawk held true in 2006. From 11% above average in
the north and 50% in the south.                                      the north for 2005, it dropped to 22% below average in 2006.
    It was a year of major recovery for the Sharp-shinned            That was almost a 33% drop to its poorest per-hour level in
Hawk, though it took a big, late flight to make that possible.       29 years. The south was similar but not as severe, showing a
It was more pronounced in the south, where the count was             20% drop from 2005 and coming in 8% below the ten-year
23% above 2005 and 12% above the ten-year average. This              average.
was the best flight since 1997. In the north, per-hour numbers           Rough-legged Hawks are always scarce, but numbers have
increased by 7% over 2005 and were slightly above the ten-year       declined for four straight years in both the south and the north.
average. It was the best flight there since 1999.                    They are as numerous in the south as they are in the north.
    The Cooper’s Hawk paused in its steady climb at northern             The Golden Eagle is still more common in the south,
sites, even dropping a smidge compared to 2005. It was still         but it is increasing in both regions, and at a faster rate in the
23% above the 10-year average. There was a slight slowdown           north. Comparing the decade of the ‘80s to the most recent
in the south, where, after a huge increase of 25% from 2004 to       ten-year period, it increased by 173% in the north and 89% in
2005, it rose only by 4.5% the following season. The question        the south. The big increase in 2005 was followed by an even
remains as to how real or permanent these changes are after          bigger one in 2006. Its total exceeded the goshawk count for
earlier increases were followed by steep declines. The ratio of      the first time ever. Only 15 birds were recorded in 2000, and
Sharp-shinned Hawk to Cooper’s Hawk dropped to 7.5 to 1              this ‘western’ eagle has steadily increased to 181 birds in 2006,
in the north and 4.6 to 1 in the south.                              a jump of 70 over 2005.

Early Peak Season Totals
9/10-19 (2006) - 9/9-17 (2005) - 9/10-18 (2004)
year hours           oS            be        nh                 SS         ch          bw             ak           Ml             ph
06      3469       3965           945        846             12068        1652      142356           4923         1419           69.0
05      3356       3066           458        189              5120         788       27473           3847          588           12.9
04      3365       5356           834        246              7640        1158       82996           2731         1100           30.6

22                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
   The per-hour count of American Kestrel stayed the same in           Flight Account
the north, which is some welcome news. Not so in the south,
                                                                          The flight story was again a bit different in 2006. There were
where a big recovery (nearly double) from the scary 2004 figure
                                                                       fewer strong storms, but plenty of unsettled weather with light
was eroded by an 18% drop in 2006. The count in the north
                                                                       and variable or easterly winds that kept the flight dispersed,
has been virtually the same in three of the last four years, but
                                                                       especially in the north. The south enjoyed more traditional
the south numbers have varied dramatically.
                                                                       weather, with fronts clearing out the unsettled systems quicker
   The 2005 increase in the passage rate of the Merlin in the          and winds staying northwesterly longer.
north was followed by a slight decrease in 2006, so that this
supposedly increasing falcon is now at the same level as in 1992.      The Pre-Season
In the south it was equal to its 1994 figure. In both regions
                                                                          August was typically warm, but ended with a cool week
the Merlin declined precipitously in 2000 and has been slowly
                                                                       of rain and clouds that extended well into September. Skies
climbing back, but has still not reached the 1999 level. Numbers
                                                                       cleared only on August 31, and migrants were decidedly scarce
peaked in 1989-90 in the north and 1996-97 in the south.
                                                                       except for Ospreys on the north coast and Broad-winged
   The story is similar for the Peregrine Falcon, which                Hawks at Allegheny Front. On September 4 a weak front stalled
increased dramatically through the ‘80s but has been up and            and set up to our south and offshore, blocking any new fronts
down ever since. In the north this year it showed another nice         and pumping hot air off the gulf stream and throughout the
increase on top of a substantial jump in 2005, reaching a level        east. Winds were light from the east, but the sky was clear, so
16.5% above its ten-year average. In the south it faltered in          a few birds started moving. Cape May, Quaker Ridge, and the
2006 after a slight increase in 2005, leaving it right at its ten-     Kittatinny Ridge had decent early counts September 7-8, and
year average.                                                          modest numbers of accipiters were seen at other sites, but there
   Of the five Mississippi Kites, two were at Caesar’s Head.           was clearly no rush of migrants. After being discouraged by
Two Swainson’s Hawks were at Hawk Mtn..                                the rain and clouds, observers were now wilted by the heat and
   In our 33 years of watching, HMANA has documented                   empty skies. They still managed 517 watch days and counted
the return of the Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, and Peregrine             12,179 migrants, but hawks and watchers were both anxious
Falcon, the resurgence of vultures, and the decline of Broad-          to start in earnest.
winged Hawk, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and
American Kestrel. That is a lot, but there is still more to do.        The Early Peak Season
                                                                           On September 10 a cold front that had hovered to our
                                                                       north across Canada finally dropped down and pushed the
                                                                       heat away. Winds picked up in New England, but were from
                                                                       the northeast as the high stayed up in Canada. Apparently,
                                                                       Broad-winged Hawks had been creeping down a narrow alley
                                                                       through northern New England for days, so the season started
                                                                       with a bang at one place, Barre Falls in central Massachusetts,
                                                                       where the third highest daily count of 2335 was made for the
                                                                       season in the north. Pack Monadnock and Mt. Watatic almost
                                                                       reached 1000, with most other sites recording a few hundred
                                                                       birds. Accipiters and falcons started at Lighthouse and Cadillac
                                                                       Mtn., reaching Cape May and Kiptopeke on September 11-12
                                                                       but many of these migrants were diverted inland.
                                                                           Migrants were diverted by light winds that started on
                                                                       September 11, keeping the birds to the west, but lighting up
MiSSiSSippi kite                         photo: JoSeph kennedy         the skies at Pack Monadnock with over 3000 Broad-winged
                                                                       Hawks. The Pennsylvania ridges started with promise, four
                                                                       sites going over the 1000 mark. As the Broad-winged Hawk
Late Peak Season Totals
9/20-28 (2006) - 9/18-26 (2005) - 9/19-26 (2004)
year hours         oS         be        nh          SS                ch       bw           ak          Ml          pg           ph
06     3507 7500            1068       1439      16589               3972    98638         5333        1162        1256         39.8
05     3828 6399             913        853       9256               1541   163515         4750        1518         456         50.0
04     3540 4500             747        806      19127               2933    86249         5904        1086         399         36.1
                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                 2
“Accipiter, Falcon, and Osprey Season” (9/25 to 10/14) Totals
9/28-10/10 (2006) - 9/25-10/14 (2005) - 9/25-10/9 (2004)
year hours        oS       be      nh           SS        ch                       bw           ak           Ml           pg          ph
06      3514    4801      736     1298      28124        6123                     9352         5786         1993        1187         11.0
05      3904    5024      689      701      18132        3804                    23320         4497         1525        1874         12.2
04      3391    3510      429      643      18487        4530                     1563         3199         1782        1745          8.3

flight dwindled in the north on the light winds there, the initial          The Late Peak Season
pulse of birds kept going, sweeping along the Kittatinny on                    On September 19 a new front was poised to the west with an
September 12 with 4000-7000 circling over Hawk Mtn., Bake                   even more massive high pressure behind it that stretched clear
Oven and Little Gap, and 1000-3000 over sites farther south.                to the west coast. It slipped past and out to sea on September 20
    The first front stalled and another slow front took aim from            and started a new surge of migrants. The winds were moderate
the west with clouds and showers ahead of it, not arriving                  to strong on that day and Broad-winged Hawk numbers were
to displace those clouds in the north until September 15. It                heavy nearer the coast, peaking for the season in the north
cleared first in the south when the last of the birds in the first          region at Quaker Ridge with 3947. Rose Tree Park was the only
pulse went over Allegheny Front on September 14. A large                    southern site to exceed 1000 that day. Winds lessened the next
high pressure was behind this front, but it was centered quite              day, but the birds were already east enough to push more than
close over the eastern Great Lakes and dropped slowly south                 2500 over Quaker Ridge; more than 1400 over Waveny Park,
to the Carolina coast over the next three days. This kept winds             Montclair and Chimney Rock, and 1100 over Duke Farms. It
light and westerly, allowing a new pulse of birds to spread out             was a taste of the old days, but only a taste.
on an easy southwest course. On September 16 Little Round                      One problem was that the migrants seemed to miss the
Top, Mt Tom, Scotts Mtn., and Buckingham led the pack                       south altogether as no site there reached 1000 on that day.
with just over 1000 Broad-winged Hawks, with other sites                    Winds were dying as the high center slid right over Virginia,
seeing numbers in the few hundreds again. Well to the south,                and the southern regions were especially becalmed. On
Caesar’s Head counts were swelled to nearly 3000 by remnants                September 22 the flight alley was moving slightly west, hitting
of the first pulse joining with new birds. This pattern repeated            Montclair, Picatinny and even Hook Mtn., but mostly missing
on September 17 with Mt. Watatic, Hook Mtn., and Wildcat                    Chimney Rock. In the south it grazed the Broadwing SEPT
Ridge inching over 1000, and Buckingham, Allegheny Front,                   line, but was barely felt anywhere else. Where did it go?
and Caesar’s Head topping the count list with near and over                 Winds switched to the southwest as another slow-moving
2000. On September 18 it was Picatinny Peak, Scotts Mtn.,                   front approached, bringing two days of clouds and showers
Pleasantville and Allegheny Front inching past 1000 and                     September 23–24. The last place for the clouds to arrive was
Rockfish busting over 2000. Other sites had to be content                   Virginia, and at Rockfish Gap on September 23 a count of
with a few hundred that day.                                                nearly 3000 Broad-winged Hawks gave us a hint of how the
    On September 16 accipiters swelled at Quaker Ridge, but                 birds were just sneaking through unseen. Even the next day
were paltry at Lighthouse Pt. and Cape May. That pattern                    a few birds dodged the raindrops as they flew over several
continued the next day in the north as winds were little more               southern watches.
than light. The wind direction had switched to north, however,                 The front passed, but this time the high behind it was more
as the high finally settled over Virginia, so Cape May started to           to the south and west and the winds were strong from the west.
see numbers climb. On September 18 the non-broadwing flight                 Bigger counts were near the coast again, but numbers were
was dispersed and modest everywhere except Cape May again.                  down so late in the season. Quaker Ridge, Montclair, Duke
However, the numbers were adding up due to the continuous                   Farms, Chimney Rock and Cromwell managed to break the
clear weather. Over this span, watchers logged 530 watch days               1000 mark. On September 26 Cape May almost reached that
and counted 170,409 migrants, 83.5% of them Broad-winged                    level while Rose Tree Park exceeded it, Candler Mtn. soared
Hawks, 8.1% accipiters, and 3.8% falcons.                                   above 2000, and Pilot Mtn. flirted with it. By then winds were
“Accipiter and Falcon Season” (10/10 to 10/21) Totals
10/11-21 (2006) - 10/15-20 (2005) - 10/10-19 (2004)
year hours         tV        oS       nh         SS                   ch           rS         rt       ak         Ml          pg      ph
06      2736     4014      1668       733    21677                   3718         237       3027      1934       1204        532     14.7
05      2019     3739      1726      1049    35123                   6794         468       4882      7134       2905        557     33.1
04      2395     3448      1444       583    15172                   2978         366       3413      2403       1583        514     13.8
2                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
“Red-tailed Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk Season” (10/20 to 10/30) Totals
10/21-30 (2006) - 10/22-30 (2005) - 10/20-30 (2004)
year hours            tV        nh            SS                  ch           rS           rt          ak           Ml           ph
06      2257        6623       1553       21286                  3035        1155        11487          965         1078         21.9
05      2127        6474       1004       16262                  4405        1926        20119         1126          583         25.8
04      2126        6269        728       10169                  2203        1232         9960          436          486         16.1

dying quickly as a reinforcing front followed on the heels of the       over 1100 accipiters were counted October 6-7. The north
first, bringing a new high centered right over the flyway from the      then had three days of hazy sun with light northeast winds,
north. The last of the main Broad-winged Hawk flight passed             and new migrants were scarce. Down south the story was
over the north on an inland path before being directed west over        different, as it seemed like every bird anywhere near the coast
the southern ridges by a southeast flow preceding another front         picked up and flew by Cape May and Kiptopeke on October
from the west. The peak flight season was finally over, several         8-10. Those three days Cape May counted nearly 4000 and
days late thanks to the finicky weather. There were 506 watch           Kiptopeke tallied 6500 on mostly clear skies and light northeast
days in this period. Broad-winged Hawks made up 70.6% of                winds. Inland, the flights in the south were pretty good but
the total migrants, accipiters 14.7% and falcons 5/6%.                  spotty, best on October 8 and far inland. There were 541
                                                                        watch days and 65,771 migrants. Accipiters were 52% of the
The Accipiter, Falcon & Osprey Season                                   flight, falcons 13.6%, and Ospreys, Bald Eagles and Northern
    Winds remained southerly on September 28 as a major front           Harriers 10.4%.
approached from the west, passing through early on the next
day and ushering in a northwest flow that flushed out most of           The Accipiter and Falcon Season
the remaining Broad-winged Hawks in the pipeline. Montclair                The next two days, October 11–12, saw little improvement
and Caesar’s Head counted several hundred on September 29,              as a front dropped from the north, stalled, pushed back north
Chimney Rock and Duke Farms did the same on September                   as a warm front with rain, followed by another day of hazy
30, and Rose Tree Park finished it up on October 1. Accipiters          sun and southwest wind. On the morning of October 13 the
did well enough on the southern ridges September 29, when               wind was northwest at southern sites before swinging around
Cape May had a modest falcon flight. After that accipiters were         to the southwest, and brought a brief flurry of migrants,
steady but restrained at Cape May as the low centers quickly            including almost 1100 accipiters to Cape May. The high
pulled far out to sea, leaving the area with light winds under          pressure finally took over on October 14–16, bringing west
a big high pressure area. October was ushered in by the same            winds, clear skies and a modest push of migrants starting at
pattern of a fast moving front, with rain followed by one decent        southern sites. The ridges did as well as the coast during this
flight day and then a big high pressure lingering to the south          period as Hawk Mtn. led the list with a two-day total of 448
and pumping warm air up over the region. Non-broadwings                 accipiters October 15–16.
took their brief opportunity on October 2 and streamed in                  The next day the birds hit a wall of clouds and rain as a
some numbers past coastal sites, while accipiters rushed down           new front approached from the west. It cleared out late on
the ridges, but the following two days saw them slowed and              October 18, bringing more substantial numbers to western sites
dispersed, though still modestly plentiful at Cape May and              on that day and the next. Some two-day accipiter totals were
Kiptopeke on October 4.                                                 695 at Little Gap, 518 at Bake Oven, 525 at Hawk Mtn. and
    The next front came down from the north and then slowed,            657 at Cape May. Then the west winds veered to southwest
limiting concentrated flights again to one day on October 5.            ahead of the next front. This was a rain producer, shutting
The flight continued the next day at Lighthouse Pt., but most           migration down on October 20. The high pressure center was
of the east was beset by light east winds with scattered clouds         close behind and that set up strong winds from the northwest
and showers. The only bright spot was Waggoners Gap, where              on October 21, triggering a coast and ridge flight that was huge

Late Season Totals
10/31-12/9 (2006) - 10/31-12/7 (2005) - 10/31-12/9 (2004)
year      hours           tV         be       nh            SS          ch          rS           rt         Ml         pg         ph
06         5024        5144         620      1448        7425        1526        2911        19958          219         87        8.5
05         5325       10893         575      1721        7086        1966        2173        20902          467        303        9.3
04         4734        6977         615      1108        4798        1533        1718        19318          182        156        8.5

                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                 2
for so late a date. Lighthouse recorded 643 accipiters, Cape          at Little Gap. The flight became modest as the high drifted
May, 1627; Quaker Ridge, 237; Raccoon Ridge, 365; Bake                over the region, then died in the rain on October 28. West
Oven, 497; Hawk Mtn., 511; Little Gap, 315; and Waggoners             winds took over in the wake of this storm, but migrants still
Gap, 274. It may have seemed to be the end of the accipiter           did not respond with a big push. A day of southwest winds
season, but 2006 was so far a year of delay, delay, delay, and why    about ended the month. The late accipiter push in the early
should the late season be any different? During 440 watch days        part of this period of 353 watch days gave them a 49% share
there were 40,353 total migrants, 63.3% of them accipiters,           of the total 49,377 migrants. The Red-tailed Hawks had to
only 9.1% of them falcons, 8.4% buteos, 7.1% Ospreys, Bald            settle for 24%.
Eagles, and Northern Harriers, and 10.7% vultures.
                                                                      The Late Season
                                                                          A fast moving front with clouds cleared the east in time
                                                                      for a sunny start to November. Red-shouldered Hawk had its
                                                                      peak flight, 130 on November 2-3 at Turkey Point, and 149 at
                                                                      Cape May on November 3-4. On November 2 the west and
                                                                      northwest winds brought modest counts of 150-260 Red-tailed
                                                                      Hawks to the ridges. What were they waiting for? It was better
                                                                      than 2004, but a far cry from 2005. They had to move soon.
                                                                      Winds were still moderate northwest on November 3 and
                                                                      Putney Mtn.., Vermont, breached the 100 Red-tailed Hawk
                                                                      mark, the only time that would happen in New England for the
                                                                      season. Farther south things were better, with 258 at Raccoon
                                                                      Ridge, 244 at Waggoners Gap, and 493 at Rockfish Gap. Winds
                                                                      were lighter the next day, but surely the flight would not die.
                                                                      It just about did, though, that day and the next as the high
                                                                      center lingered right over the area. Southwest winds prevailed
red-Shouldered hawk                       photo: JoSeph kennedy
                                                                      the next three days, culminating in rain on November 8. The
                                                                      flight barely resumed the next two days under a northwest
                                                                      flow and died again with a full week of southwest wind and
The Red-tailed and Red-shouldered                                     warm temperatures.
Hawk Season                                                               Then three straight days of northerly winds November
                                                                      18-20 brought some modest, late Red-tailed Hawk flights with
    The accipiter flight should have been mostly over by
                                                                      some numbers in the 100 and 200 range. The season of flights
October 21, but it was not so in 2006. After the big movement
                                                                      virtually concluded on December 2, when Raccoon Ridge and
of October 21 the winds died the next day and even turned
                                                                      Hawk Mtn. almost reached the 100 mark for Red-tailed Hawks.
southwest as a new front approached from the west, but birds
                                                                      It was a drawn out late season that was not the Red-tailed Hawk
were still flying on the ridges. Numbers rivaled the previous day
                                                                      recovery we were hoping for. Of the 42,459 migrants counted
with 301 at Bake Oven, 337 at Hawk Mtn., 419 at Little Gap,
                                                                      in the late season period, 47% were Red-tailed Hawks, 21.4%
and 324 at Waggoners Gap. On October 23 clouds hung on in
                                                                      were accipiters and 12% were Turkey Vultures.
the north and inland, but the northwest wind grew so strong
that birds still sped by eastern ridges and coastal points. This
wind continued for four days as a huge high pressure center
slowly inched eastward. The numbers tell the story. The four
day total of accipiters at Lighthouse Pt. was 1701; at Cape
May, 4447; at Hawk Mtn., 1139; and Waggoners Gap, 1093.
Kiptopeke, on the west side of its peninsula, did not share this
flight, but East Shore Park, the sister site to Lighthouse Pt. that
records different migrants moving just 2-3 miles farther away
from the shoreline, recorded 506 on October 25.
    One might expect Red-tailed Hawks to move under these
conditions, but their flight was not that impressive. Counts did
not break 100 until October 24 at four of the Pennsylvania
ridges. Over the next two days the numbers jumped: 743 at
Franklin Mtn., 872 at Hawk Mtn., 679 at Bake Oven, and 459

2                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Central Continental                                                             Summary
                                                                                   The Central Continental Flyway perhaps exhibits the best
Flyway Editor:Vic Berardi                                                       in diversity and numbers for hawk migration study in North
6032 Golfview Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031                                           America. As a result, 20 species of raptors (vultures and hawks)
vbirdman@aol.com                                                                were seen during the 2006 fall migration period.
                                                                                   The organization of this report is divided into 3 sub-regions.
                                                                                These are: 1) Eastern Great Lakes; 2) Western Great Lakes;
                                                                                and 3) Eastern Great Plains (namely Iowa).
                                                                                   Most of the data obtained for this report came from
                                     8                                    1     HawkCount, which is HMANA’s internet-based reporting
                                                                      2         tool. Some watch sites sent in corrections and therefore may
                                                                                differ from HawkCount totals. All information recorded on
                                                          5   4                 the “green sheets” in the past can now be uploaded to the
                                                                                internet with instant access to the entire season for review.
                                                                                HawkCount data can be viewed at the HMANA Web site at
                     1. l’observatoire d’oiseaux de tadoussac
                                                                                   If an individual watch site has a Web site, these are listed.
                     2. Montreal island hawkwatch
                     3. greater toronto raptor watch                            Additional details about the sites and the season’s counts
                     4. hawk cliff hawkwatch                                    may be found there. These Web sites have a vast amount
                     5. holiday beach Migration observatory                     of information, including past history, events such as hawk
                     6. Southern Michigan raptor research                       festivals, maps, directions to the site and much more.
                     7. Muskegon hawkwatch
                     8. thunder cape bird observatory                              I would like to thank all of the flyway’s compilers for their
                     9. concordia university hawkwatch                          significant contributions to this report. Without their efforts
                     10. illinois beach State park                              this report would not be complete or as thorough as it is. I
                     11. hawk ridge nature reserve
                     12. grammer grove hawkwatch
                                                                                would also like to thank all those who contributed their time
                     13. hitchcock nature reserve hawkwatch                     to hawkwatching in 2006 and hope 2007 brings more people
                                                                                to the joys of hawkwatching as well as more raptors!
    The Central Continental Flyway consists of the following Canadian
provinces and U.S. states: Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, New York
(north and west of a line from Jamestown to Utica to the north end of           Eastern Great Lakes
Lake Champlain), Pennsylvania (Erie County only), Ohio, Michigan,               L’Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac,
Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas,              Tadoussac, Quebec
North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.
                                                                                Data and report submitted by Samuel Denault, Émilie Berthiaume
    The prominent features are the Great Lakes, which create a barrier          and Andrew P. Coughlan
to migrating hawks. Rather than cross expanses of water, hawks look
                                                                                   L’Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac (OOT) is located
to circumvent them. As a result, they follow the shorelines until they can
                                                                                near the town of Tadoussac (Québec, Canada) on the north
head south, usually moving westward to go south in the fall. This causes
                                                                                coast of the St. Lawrence Estuary and just downstream from
the concentrations of hawks that are seen along the shorelines. In the
                                                                                the mouth of the Saguenay River. The OOT’s raptor migration
spring, points on the south sides of the lakes, such as Whitefish Point,
                                                                                monitoring site, which has been operating since 1993, is one
Michigan, and Braddock Bay and Derby Hill, New York, benefit. In
                                                                                of the most northerly raptor monitoring sites in eastern North
the fall, sites on the north sides of the lakes, such as Holiday Beach,
                                                                                America. The Observatory monitors raptors from a relatively
Ontario, and Hawk Ridge, Minnesota, get much of the action.
                                                                                well-defined area, comprising a large part of the Québec-
    In the absence of these water barriers or updraft-creating ridges,          Labrador Peninsula.
migration takes place over a broad front, and flight lines are more difficult
                                                                                   The fall 2006 season was the fourteenth consecutive year
to identify. Such is the lot of much of the interior Midwest and prairie
                                                                                of migration monitoring conducted at the OOT. During the
regions. Consequently, other than Hitchcock and Grammer Grove, both
                                                                                1,028 hours of observation, 8,399 raptors of 14 species were
in Iowa, inland hawkwatching has not developed as great a following as
                                                                                counted. This is the second lowest total since counts began,
it has around the shores of the Great Lakes. But sporadic reports of
                                                                                more than 8,000 birds less than the mean observed between
migrating hawks on state internet listservs and rare bird alerts throughout
                                                                                1993 and 2005. This season, the only day with more than 1,000
the region are proof that raptors are definitely passing through the interior
                                                                                raptors was on October 5 when 1,409 were counted.
of the continent.

                                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                           2
Table 1: L’Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac,Tadoussac, Quebec
Year TV OS BE NH SS CH NG BW RT RL GE AK ML                                                     PG GY SW UR                Total
2002 17 595 124 382 6791 0 199 2443 5531 480 53 1869 312                                        104 1  0 142               19043
2003 22 809 178 398 5184 0 210 716 7066 904 65 1235 234                                         129 0  0 105               17255
2004 16 337 160 298 4918 0 335 1609 3530 295 26 1241 154                                        106 1  1 61                13088
2005 12 516 155 265 3704 2 124 1037 3020 177 33 801 127                                         116 0  0 74                10163
2006 50 722 187 207 2834 0 78 435 2692 237 46 704 130                                            77 2  0 29                 8399

    Counts were conducted by two observers at two different         a negative effect on the total number of Northern Harriers
locations from August 24 to November 25 in 2006. The                observed (207). It is important to note that monitoring Broad-
first site is located within the Parc national du Saguenay on       winged Hawks and Northern Harriers is not considered a
a marine terrace overlooking the St. Lawrence Estuary, and          priority for the OOT, because the majority of the populations
the second is some 800m inland. One of the observers also           of these two species do not nest in the boreal forest.
monitored the passage of Golden Eagles from November 26                The Web site for Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac is
to December 1.                                                      located at http://www.explos-nature.qc.ca/oot
    In 2006, most species were seen in numbers lower than the
long-term averages. However, Turkey Vultures and Bald Eagles
                                                                    Montreal West Island Hawkwatch
were exceptions, with both species setting new records. The
count of Turkey Vultures in 2006 was 50. In 2004 and 2005,          (Ste. Anne De Bellevue)
a slight decrease in the number of Turkey Vultures counted          Report submitted by Bob Barnhurst and Mabel McIntosh
suggested a stabilization of the population further east and           For the second year in a row a Swainson’s Hawk was noted
north of Tadoussac. With the new high count in 2006, the            at the fall hawkwatch, this one seen on September 10 amid
population may be continuing to expand. Bald Eagles are             Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks. The only other bird
known to be on the increase in eastern Québec, and the record       of this species observed in migration was during the spring
count of 187 birds in 2006 reflects this. A large proportion of     hawkwatch in 1981.
the individuals aged were juveniles (70 %), and approximately          The count began in late August with a few immature birds
70 % of these were first year birds, suggesting that 2006 was       moving over the hill alongside the Transcanada Highway at
a productive year.                                                  Ste. Anne de Bellville, Quebec. The first significant movement
     Red-tailed Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks are normally          of adults began September 7 with flights of 455, 483 and
the two most abundant species recorded at OOT. Results for          99 over the span of 5 days. A large flight of Broad-winged
both species were lower this year (2,692 and 2,834 individuals,     Hawks once again failed to materialize this season. In fact,
respectively) than their long-term means. On a more positive        only low numbers of all species were seen during the month.
note, while 2005 was marked by an early passage of adult Red-       Unfortunately, southwest winds predominated, especially
tailed hawks (and with juveniles representing only slightly more    during the latter half of the month, with no significant cold
than 10 % of the individuals observed), the proportion of           fronts passing through, a phenomenon noted increasingly the
juveniles in 2006 (41 %) was closer to the long-term mean.          last several years. Indeed, 2000 was the last fall season when
    The number of American Kestrels recorded at the OOT             a “normal” number of strong cold fronts passed through in
has continued to decline since 2000. During the 2006 season,        September and which produced flights of more than 3000
704 individuals were recorded, the second lowest total since        Broad-winged Hawks.
record-keeper began at the site. By contrast, the number of            October also brought very mild temperatures and light
Peregrine Falcons has continued to increase since 2001, though      winds, interspersed with a dozen wet and foggy days. It wasn’t
the number recorded in 2006 was slightly lower, perhaps due         until October 20 until the first strong cold front of the season
to the loss of several count days from bad weather. In 2006,        arrived, after which Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks
counts for Golden Eagles (46), Rough-legged Hawks (237) and         began moving in higher numbers. Nonetheless, highlights were
Merlins (130) were all slightly below their long-term means.        few. The 109 Turkey Vultures seen on October 20 was, by far,
    The 2006 season saw the lowest numbers ever recorded            a record one-day count for the Montreal area hawkwatches.
for two species: Northern Goshawk (78) and Broad-winged                November was very quiet with only 158 hawks counted
Hawk (435). The latter species migrates early in the season and     despite excellent coverage. The count finished on December
the decline in the number recorded may, in part, be explained       4. Save for Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Red-shouldered
by the new count period, which started 10 days later this year      Hawks and Golden Eagles, all species saw well below average
than in previous years. The later starting date probably also had   numbers. The seasonal total of 2368 for all hawks was the
2                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Table 2: Montreal West Island Hawkwatch
tV oS be        nh SS        ch ng rS                           bw rt         rl      ge     ak      M       pf      Sw       total
176 24     12   52    143 2      0   175                        1013 666      13      22     44      0       3       1        2368
lowest since 1984. Hawk numbers typically follow cycles, and        Species Accounts
2006 was the point of the latest cycle, perhaps made worse              Turkey Vulture (TV): The main push of Turkey Vultures
by the increasingly warm autumn weather. The total hours            in October was slightly later than in previous years, possibly
of observation was also low, due largely to the above average       because the fall’s warm weather didn’t force them to migrate
number of wet days this season.                                     earlier. A new record high count for TV’s was set this season
                                                                    with 25,647.
Greater Toronto Raptor Watch (GRTW)                                     The first large movement of TV’s was on September 29
                                                                    (919), and the season included nine days when 1000+ birds
Cranberry Marsh Raptor Watch (CMRW)
                                                                    were counted. The largest flight was on October 15 with 5,479,
High Park Raptor Watch (HPRW)                                       a new one-day record. The highest 1-hour record of 1,700 was
Iroquois Shore Raptor Watch (ISRW)                                  set October 24 between noon and 1 p.m., on a day with a mix
                                                                    of rain and snow and moderate northwest winds).
   The Greater Toronto Raptor Watch originally organized in
1993 is a combination of three watch sites that include two              Osprey: The peak week for Osprey matched the 5-year
Lake Ontario shoreline sites; the Cranberry Marsh Raptor            average (September 15-21) but this year’s count was 65, slightly
Watch (CMRW) located in Whitby, Ontario, and the High               lower than the 5-year average of 71. No new records were set
Park Raptor Watch (HPRW) located near downtown Toronto,             this year for Osprey.
approximately 48 kilometers southwest of Cranberry Marsh.               Bald Eagle: A new year high count of 362 Bald Eagles
Also part of this trio is an auxiliary inland site, the Iroquois    were counted, and a new one-day record of 62 was set on
Shore Raptor Watch (ISRW) that is located some 10 kilometers        September 10. At least 80% of the eagles counted September
north of the Lake Ontario shoreline and CMRW.                       10 were juveniles, with a few sub-adults thrown in. The peak
   For additional information on the Greater Toronto Raptor         migration week in 2006 was two weeks earlier than the site’s
Watch, visit the Web site at:www.torontobirding.ca/~gtrw/           5-year average and nearly double the peak week count average
                                                                    with 83. Other good days were September 21 (27), September
                                                                    29 (17), Oct 1(28) and October 5 (19).
Hawk Cliff Hawkwatch (HCF), Port Stanley,
                                                                        Northern Harrier: A record high count of 1,966 Northern
Ontario                                                             Harriers was tallied in 2006, as well as a new 1-day record of
Report submitted by Dave Brown                                      252 on September 10 that eclipsed the old record of 209.
   In fall 2006, the total count for raptors and vultures at Hawk   That same day 74 harriers were counted between 8- 9:00 a.m.,
Cliff was 99,970, just 30 birds short of 100,000. This total was    setting a new 1-hour record. Several 100+ days were tallied,
the second highest total recorded at Hawk Cliff in the last         the first on September 21 (100), then again on September 29
10 years. Even after removing the typically large counts for        (143), October 1 (103) and October 25 (127).
Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures, the count for all               Sharp-shinned Hawk: After the fall 2005 count for
remaining species was 31,269, nearly 8,000 birds higher than        Sharpies surpassed the previous record by more than 3,000
the previous best season.                                           birds, we didn’t expect to do it again in 2006. However, that’s
   The Hawk Cliff hawkwatch saw a number of high count              just what happened, as the previous record count of 11,779
records set this year. These included five new daily high counts,   was left in the dust with a 2006 season total of 14,916, for the
seven new month high counts and nine new one-year high              second year in a row, an increase of more than 3,000 birds
counts.                                                             (25%) over the last year’s total. In 2006 the peak of the Sharpies
                                                                    was more than a month later than the normal peak, which
   The weather for the 2006 season was warm, with an average
                                                                    has typically occurred during the week of September 15-21.
temperature of just over 12C for the three months of the
                                                                    In 2006 the peak week was Oct 20-26 with a count of 5,552
count period. Cloud cover dominated the skies in 2006. For
                                                                    and resulted in a new one-month record of 8,934. Juvenile
nearly one-third of the observation time 100% cloud cover
                                                                    “sharpies” were commonly seen during these large flights
was reported, and for three quarters of the observation time at
                                                                    late in October, when the adults were just starting to appear.
least 50% cloud cover was reported. With so much cloud cover
                                                                    Normally the juveniles peak in September. Perhaps the warmer
this season, the “height of flight” was recorded as “visible to
                                                                    fall weather impacted the timing of their migration
the unaided eye” (i.e. no binoculars required) for more than
70% of the observation time and the improved visibility likely          Cooper’s Hawk: More records in 2006 were set for
helped with the setting of so many new high counts.                 Cooper’s Hawk with a new one-year high count of 630. The

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                2
first good flight was September 15 (16), with the second highest      Golden Eagle: Although the daily record high didn’t fall,
daily count for the season on the 29th (53). The peak week in      the season-high total record did with a new one-year high count
2006 was October 20-26, the same as the 5-year average. That       of 146. Eagles began moving on October 24 with 12, and on
week the best counts were on the 24th (28), 25th (96, the daily    October 26 15 were counted, the highest daily count for 2006.
high count for 2006) and on the 26th (30).                         Good flights continued into the first week of November with
     Northern Goshawk: While the sharpies were late                a total of 45 counted between November 1-6. The November
arriving this season, the goshawks got their migration going       total of 96 was another new one-month record.
a bit earlier than in past years. Normally just 1 Goshawk is          American Kestrel: Kestrel numbers peaked during the
recorded in September, but this year 8 were tallied, with the      week of September 15-21 with 2,173, just shy of 2005’s peak
first on September 26 (1), another on September 27 (1) and         week count of 2,186. The 2006 result was nearly double the
then several more on the 29th (6). October brought 31 more         5-year average count of 1,364. The first good flights occurred
goshawks with the best days on the 5th (6) and 6th (4). More       on September 6 (62), 7 (194), 8 (105), 9 (159) and finally an
passed through on October 20 (2), 21 (3), 25 (4) and finally       excellent flight on September 10 with 662. During the peak
on the 26th (5). Goshawks continued on into November with          week, kestrel numbers increased to several 100+ days, and a
8 more in the first 3 days of the month.                           new one-day high count on of 1,187 was tallied on September
    Red-shouldered Hawk: The 2006 count of Red-                    20, a total 33% above the previous high count on Sept. 15, 2005
shouldered Hawks during their typical peak week of October         (895). The best one-hour count of 186 was just shy of the one-
20-26 was down slightly with 389 versus the 5-year average of      hour high count of 200 set in 2003. By the end of September,
412. However, overall, a new one-year high count was set with      87% of the 2006 season’s kestrels were tallied. September set
1,090. The day with the highest total was October 26 with 322,     a new one-month record count with 4,398. The total count
also the high daily count for 2006.                                for the 2006 season was 5,076, another record.
    Broad-winged Hawk: Interestingly, this season’s Broad-             Merlin: It wasn’t just the kestrels; Merlins migrated past the
winged Hawk numbers were very different between Hawk               hawkwatch in record numbers in 2006 too. The season total
Cliff (43,083) and the two hawkwatch sites to our southwest:       of 237 was a new high count, easily surpassing the previous
Lake Erie Metro Park (67,958) and Holiday Beach (7,730). The       high count of 188 set in 2005. Merlin migration peaked during
Hawk Cliff and Lake Erie counts were both at or above 10-year      the week of September 22-28, with a total of 67, more than
averages, while at Holiday Beach, broadwing numbers were well      double the 5-year average of 30. The record single day high
below their average. Hawk Cliff ’s first broadwings were spotted   count was set on September 10 with 37. The big story for the
on September 3 (4) with the first good flight on September         day, however, was that 25 of these birds were counted in one
10 (930). During their “prime time” week of September 15-          hour (a new one-hour high count) from 8-9 a.m.
21, another 29,087 were counted, with the high count falling          Peregrine Falcon: The most significant Peregrine flights
on September 21 (23,182). A second excellent flight pushed         in 2006 occurred a week earlier than normal with 64 counted
through on September 26 (10,460), followed by 942 on the           from September 22-28. This total was nearly double the 5-
29th, and 895 on October 1. The latest ever broadwings were        year average of 37, which usually occurs in the peak week of
recorded on October 25 with 3.                                     September 29-October 5. The highest 1-day count for 2006
    Red-tailed Hawk: The first real movement of redtails was       was on September 27 with 32. A new hourly high count was
September 10 (33), but it was nearly the end of the month          set on this same day with 10 peregrines tallied between noon
before another good flight (September 29 with 55). The redtails    and 1:00 p.m. The total count for the season of 101 was not a
lagged this season with the peak week falling November 10-16       record but was well above the 10-year average of 73.
with 1,792. The 5-year peak week average of 1,374 typically           Other Sightings: Other good sightings this year included
falls October 20-26. Other good flights occurred on October        a couple of Swainson’s Hawks—1 each on October 15 and
5 (367), 25 (240) and 26 (704, the high daily total for 2006).     October 26.
Once November arrived, the redtails really started to move
with the species recorded nearly every day between November
1 and 24. The final November total of 4,325 was a new 1-
month record.
    Rough-legged Hawk : Roughlegs were conspicuously
absent this year with a total of just 28, well below the 10-year
average of 43. Their main movement occurred during their
typical peak week of November 3-9 with a count of 15, which
was virtually identical to their 5-year average peak week count
of 16.

0                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Holiday Beach Migration Observatory                                 Comparison Between Yearly Average (2001-
(HBMO), Ontario                                                     2005) to 2006 to Obtain Percent of Change
Report submitted by Bob Pettit, HBMO raptor coordinator
                                                                    in Species Numbers at Holiday Beach
                                                                    Conservation Area, Amherstburg, ON
    Located on the north shore of Lake Erie near the Detroit
River, Holiday Beach of Essex County, Ontario, provides
an excellent observation location during the southbound             Species      2006 Season average % change
fall migration. The count is conducted from a 40 foot tower                                  2001-2005
overlooking the Big Creek freshwater estuary. Raptor migration      tV              35,665     26,974      32%
counts have taken place at Holiday Beach since 1974; Holiday        oS                111         94       18%
Beach Migration Observatory was founded in 1986.
                                                                    be                124         73       70%
    A total of 26,987 raptors and 35,665 Turkey Vultures were
                                                                    nh               1,195       751       59%
counted (September 1 – November 30) for a total of 62,652
individuals. Species showing an increase in 2006 count numbers
                                                                    SS               9,814      9,335       5%
above the previous five-year average were noted for Peregrine       ch                760        526       45%
Falcon (151%), Bald Eagle (70%), Northern Harrier (59%),            ng                 28         44      -36%
Merlin (47%), Cooper’s Hawk (45%), Turkey Vultures (32%),           rt               4,248      4,312      -1%
and Osprey (18%). Minor gains were seen in Sharp-shinned
                                                                    rS                492        553      -11%
Hawk (5%), Golden Eagle (4%), and American Kestrel (4%).
The increase in Swainson’s Hawk (400%) should be discounted         bw               7,730     18,403     -58%
as so few are counted. Significant decreases were seen in five      Sw                  3         1      400%
species; Broad-winged Hawk (-58%), Rough-legged Hawk (-             rl                 30        58       -48%
48%), Northern Goshawk (-36%), Red-shouldered Hawk (-11),
                                                                    ge                 63        60        4%
with a minor reduction in Red-tailed Hawks (-1%).
                                                                    ak               2,113     2,025       4%
    The 2006 raptor count marked the twentieth year since the
observatory was officially established and the thirty-second        Ml                122        83       47%
year since counting was first organized. This analysis is based     pg                114        45      151%
on only the last six years of data. The averages of the previous
                                                                    Season total (all) 62,652            63,433          -1%
five years will be compared with the current season, 2006.
    Comparing the total number of raptors (not including
                                                                    raptors minus tV 26,987              36,459         -26%
vultures) seen in 2006 with the previous five years, the total
number of raptors seen decreased by 26%. As Broad-winged            average hours 01-05          564.9
Hawk counts have the greatest influence on these numbers,           total hours 2006             612.5*
looking at the grand total of raptors observed is less meaningful   *8% increase in hours of coverage
than looking at the trends of the individual species.
    During the fall 2006 season, the Holiday Beach count
was conducted every day, starting September 1 and ending            Southern Michigan Raptor Research
November 30. A total of 612.5 observation hours were                (SMRR)
logged during 91 continuous days of observation or 6.7
                                                                    Report submitted by Calvin Brennan
hours averaged each day. A few days had less than 5 hours of
observation mainly because of poor weather conditions.                 A total of 161,378 raptors of 17 species were recorded
                                                                    during fall 2006 at Lake Erie Metropark and Pointe Mouillee
    Additional information about Holiday Beach including
                                                                    State Game Area. The fall was dominated by overcast
migration counts and records of daily weather conditions,
                                                                    conditions and generally poor weather, resulting in a real
volunteer observers, visitors, and hourly breakdown of each
                                                                    mixed bag of results when compared with typical averages.
day’s migration observations may be found at the Holiday
                                                                    Most notable was the very low totals for Northern Goshawk
Beach Migration Observatory Web site (http://hbmo.org) or
                                                                    and Rough-legged Hawk, the lowest tallies for those species
at hawkcount.org.
                                                                    in quite some time. Red-tailed Hawks were also recorded in
                                                                    somewhat lower numbers, and the Broad-winged Hawk total
                                                                    was the lowest in some years. On the upside, Northern Harriers
                                                                    came through in record numbers in September and finished
                                                                    the season strongly overall. Golden Eagles rebounded to a
                                                                    near record November after a dismal October.

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                            1
    The 2006 season was the twenty-fourth year of continuous        20th and 21st, this is a modest total overall, and flights were
monitoring of raptors and vultures at Lake Erie Metropark and       dominated by the continued good showing of harriers, kestrels
Pointe Mouillee State Game Area. Censuses were taken on 78          and Sharp-shinned Hawks.
out of 91 possible days from September 1 to November 30                The 4 Merlins seen on the 24th matched a season high,
with 551.25 total hours logged. This was the seventh season         as did the 4 Peregrine Falcons on the 26th. At this point it
a full-time paid counter was hired and the sixth year funding       seemed that no more large movements of broadwings could
was facilitated by a grant from D.T.E. Energy.                      be expected, so the events that followed on the 26th were quite
                                                                    unexpected and provided one of the largest late movements
September                                                           of broadwings recorded at this site. On a sunny day with light
                                                                    variable winds, the migration began slowly, but by late morning
    A total of 74,470 birds of 14 species were recorded for
                                                                    good-sized groups of broadwings were passing overhead. This
September, of which 88% were Broad-winged Hawks. Of the
                                                                    action would continue through early evening, and at day’s end
season’s Osprey total, 84% were recorded in September, as
                                                                    30,547 broadwings were recorded, which essentially doubled
well as 51% of the sharp-shin total, 88% of the kestrel total,
                                                                    the season’s total to that point.
60% of the Merlin total and 62% of all peregrines recorded.
2006 was the best Northern Harrier September ever, with                A season peak of 16 Bald Eagles was recorded on the 29th,
505 tallied.                                                        and a rare September sub-adult Golden Eagle was a notable
                                                                    sighting on the 27th.
    Roughly 17 days were dominated by south winds during
the month, which is not that unusual when looking at the
recent past. What is of note was the number of days with            October
significant cloud cover and unstable weather patterns. A typical       In all for the month, 77,034 birds of 16 species were
slow build-up of birds was recorded during the initial week         recorded, with 87% provided by 67,393 Turkey Vultures (TV).
of the count, dominated by a steady movement of Ospreys             Of all vultures seen in 2006, 92% were seen in October. Sharp-
and American Kestrels. Highlighting these early days were 11        shinned Hawks represented 5% of the total while redtails were
Bald Eagles recorded on the 6th, including a single grouping        3% of the total count. Surprisingly, broadwings also provided
of 7 juveniles.                                                     3% of the flight with the overall total for the month higher
    A cold front on September 9 brought the season’s first large    than that for redtail (2,504 as compared to 1,971). In comparing
push of birds on the 10th, dominated by Northern Harriers,          monthly totals, 59% of all Cooper’s Hawk were observed in
Sharp-shinned Hawks and kestrels, with the Broad-winged             October as were 46% of the Sharp-shined Hawks total. Six
Hawk flight not developing until the afternoon. The 101             of the 7 Goshawks were seen in October, as were 6 of the 9
harriers tallied the next day were the second largest total of      Swainson’s Hawks seen during the fall.
the fall and part of the largest September migration of that           October 2006 can be characterized as a month with very few
species in the count’s history. On September 11, 15 Bald Eagles     sunny days, especially in the last half of the month. Although
were seen, the second largest total of the fall. The 12,000         counts were not attempted on only a few days, the coverage
broadwings recorded over these two days represents a typical        on a number of days was reduced due to poor weather.
early season peak for that species.
                                                                       The first week saw frontal systems move through the area
    Another front on September 13 unfortunately also brought        with rain and thunderstorms pre-empting coverage. Conditions
heavy cloud cover, and the flights were modest. Conditions          overall, though, were favorable with very good flights of birds.
to the north of this site appeared to be clearer than the local     TVs moved in force during this period, peaking at 9,426 on the
conditions, and one can speculate that much of the broadwing        5th, with another 8,786 recorded the next day. Considerable
passage was under those clear skies. Kestrels dominated the         numbers of broadwings still came through this first week, the
flights of the 15th and 16th, with the 271 that were recorded       2500 recorded for the month a nice capper to an otherwise off
on the 15th a season high total, including a single hour total of   year for this species. The larger Buteos and other later season
172. Ospreys also hit a season high with 21 observed on the         raptors began to pick up in numbers as well, although totals
16th, and the 428 Sharp-shinned Hawks also seen on that date        for most of these species lagged behind typical levels. Cooper’s
one of the largest totals of the season. The first two Swainson’s   and Sharp-shinned Hawks were the only species, other than
Hawks were noted with one each on September 14 and again            the vultures, that came through in predictable numbers and
on September 16. The 4 Peregrine Falcons recorded on the            were recorded in approximately average numbers.
14th equaled a season high.
                                                                       Other highlights from this early part of the month included
    After several days of poor flights, a frontal system on         a season high 3 Swainson’s Hawks on the 7th. A strong cold
September 19 brought more birds, though not to the degree           front on the 11th brought unseasonably cold and strong west
anticipated and certainly not to the level expected for the         winds into the region.. Temperatures on the 12th and 13th
date. Although about 8,000 broadwings were recorded on the          reached barely into the forties with frequent snow squalls on
2                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
the 12th as well. This cold air triggered the second pulse of        of west and/or south component winds and overcast skies.
vulture movement for the fall with the 9,141 recorded on the         Predictably, given those conditions, the Pointe Mouillee count
15th the second highest total of the season. The heels of such a     site was only used on two days. What wasn’t predictable,
cold front could be expected to bring redtails and redshoulders      however, was that the movement of birds was impressive for
but that did not happen.                                             the first three weeks of the month and for several species, made
   The third week of October was dominated by unsettled              up for the less than stellar October passage
weather with a solid week of overcast skies, occasional rain             The month began with several days of strong west winds,
and drizzle. Vultures continued to move in lesser numbers and        heavy overcast skies and occasional snow squalls. Even so, the
some of the best Sharp-shinned flights of the season were            best redtail movement of the season was recorded; the peak
observed during this time. Even in the rain and drizzle the          day was 651 recorded on the 1st. The 118 redshoulders seen
sharpies moved in large numbers. Peak flights were recorded          that day was also a season high. The combined total for the
on the 21st and 23rd, with 477 and 509 tallied respectively, as      first six days of the November made up 37% of the entire
well as an additional solid flight of 401 on the 24th. The passage   season’s redtail tally and almost half the redshoulder total.
on the 21st included a single hour of 190 birds.                     Golden Eagles also posted a peak flight of 13 on the 2nd.
   The last week of the month saw some improvement in the            Golden Eagles continued to move well during the month.
weather with several days of west winds but still considerable           The second week saw a wide variety of weather conditions
cloudiness and some rain. Although Cooper’s Hawk numbers             as several weak frontal systems moved through the region.
spiked a bit during the first week of October, the best flights      The migration was highlighted by one of the largest late
were in the last week, with 36 recorded on the 25th and a season     season movements of Northern Harriers recorded at this site.
high 46 on the 29th. Finally, a Northern Goshawk seen on the         Early in the day on the 12th, a large passage of harriers was
23rd, late for the initial sighting but perhaps not surprising       witnessed at Pointe Mouillee. The first few hours of the count
given that seemingly few migrated past this site this fall. Also     brought groups of 5, 6, 7 at a time, but included an instance
on the 23rd, the final Swainson’s Hawk was recorded, a bit late      when 26 were in the sky at once, the largest single group in
but not the latest seen on the count.                                view numbering 17 individuals. The largest single hour tally
   The last large push of TVs was seen during this last week, a      was 80 birds. Many adults were involved with this movement
typical scenario, although decent flights would be recorded into     including lots of adult males, and one group of 5 harriers
early November. The Buteo migration was still modest with            contained a Short-eared Owl, the first recorded on the count
the 509 redtails on the 29th the best showing of the month.          in a couple of years.
The first Rough-legged Hawks were recorded on the 24th,                  Also on the 12th, the largest single flight of Rough-legged
one of only a handful of days the entire season where more           Hawks was observed, the 13 recorded that day representing
than a single bird was recorded . Golden Eagles were also a          45% of the fall’s total.
disappointment during this peak time, the 18 recorded for the
month one of the lowest totals in a decade for October. A
juvenile Broad-winged Hawk tallied on
the 29th was the last of the season.

   A total of 9,874 birds of 15 species
were seen in November. Redtails
outnumbered all other species,
accounting for 44% of the total. The
3,862 TVs seen in November is one of
the largest totals ever for this month
and represents 39% of the overall total
for the month. Of all Red-shouldered
Hawks observed, 77% were recorded
in November, along with 76% of the
roughlegs and 85% of the Golden
Eagles. Only a single goshawk was seen
during the month.
   Weather conditions in November
were very typical, with a preponderance     hawk watcherS at illinoiS beach State park                           photo: Vic berardi

                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                              
Species accounts                                                                             Sharp-shinned Hawk
                                                                                                For the season 8,404 Sharp-shins were recorded, which is
Figure 1. Totals for the fall 2006 expressed as a percentage of the
                                                                                             17% below the 10-year average. The September total was just
ten-year average for each species.
                                                                                                          slightly greater than what was tallied in October,
     200                                                                                                  but the peak flights were seen during October
                                                                                             10 yr avg
                                                                                                          with 477 on the 21st and 509 on the 23rd. A
                                                                                             2006         smaller than usual flight of juvenile sharpies in
 %   100                                                                                                  September might be explained by weather or
                                                                                                          perhaps a less successful breeding season.

                                                                                                               Cooper’s Hawk
           tV   be   oS   nh   SS   ch   ng    rS    bw   Sw   rt   rl   ge   ak   Ml   pg                   Cooper’s Hawk had another solid season with
                                               species                                                    the 745 observed, 13% above the 10-year average
                                                                                                          of 660. High totals were tallied October 25 and
Turkey Vulture                                                                               29, with 36 and 46 recorded on those days respectively.
   After last season’s record breaking total, it was unexpected                              Northern Goshawk
that this fall’s final tally would be less grand. Still, the 73,146                             2006 marked one of the worst showings for Goshawk in
birds counted up this year is the third highest total ever. For                              a very long time. The 7 recorded is the lowest total since the
the second year in a row, TVs took were the most numerous                                    early years of the count, 82% below the 10-average for the
species recorded. Peak flights were seen on October 5 with                                   species. All those seen were juveniles.
9,426 tallied and the next day when 8,796 vultures flew by.
                                                                                             Red-shouldered Hawk
October 15 saw another very good flight of 9,141.
                                                                                                The 1,044 redshoulders seen this fall is the fifth highest
Figure 2. Turkey Vulture trends 92-06.                                                       total ever recorded at the site and is 17% above the ten-year
                                                                                             average of 894. Most of the flight occurred in the early part
  120000                                                                                     of November with the peak day of 118 recorded November
  100000                                                                                     1. A noticeable increase in the percentage of juvenile birds
                                                                                             was seen this year. Juveniles made up 29% of all individuals
# 60000
   40000                                                                                     successfully aged.
       0                                                                                     Figure 3. Age structure of Red-shouldered Hawks 01-06.
                92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06                                      100

Osprey                                        year                                                 60
                                                                                              %                                                         %juv
   The season total for Ospreys was 225. This is 18% above the                                     40
ten-year average of 191. The peak flight was 21 on September                                       20

16 with the next highest total the 15 recorded September 24.                                            2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006

The last Osprey was seen November 2.
                                                                                             Broad-winged Hawk
Bald Eagle
                                                                                                The recent pattern of southerly winds during September
   Bald Eagles totals are consistently around 200 birds, and this
                                                                                             continued this fall. With an unusual number of overcast days
year’s tally was exactly 200. In comparison to the 10-year average,
                                                                                             and generally unstable weather systems during the critical time,
the 2006 total is 32% above the average of 152. The best flights
                                                                                             the result was one of the lowest totals for broadwings at the
were 15 on September 11 and 16 on September 29.
                                                                                             site in a decade. The 67,956 observed is 60% below the ten-
Northern Harrier                                                                             year average of 168,778. The highest tally of 30,547 occurred
    Harriers had one of their best Septembers ever with the 505                              September 26, one of the latest dates on which a flight of this
recorded month only slightly less than the 571 seen during the                               volume was ever been recorded.
entire fall a year ago. The 101 recorded September 11 was the                                Swainson’s Hawk
highest early season mark and was bettered only by the 152
                                                                                                The 9 Swainson’s Hawks seen this year exactly matches their
tallied on November 12. The September flight was virtually all
                                                                                             ten-year average. One of the highlights of the season were the
juveniles while the late season push was mostly adult harriers.
                                                                                             3 seen October 7, two of which gave exceptional views, and
The 1,004 recorded for the season is 24% above the 10-year
                                                                                             included a juvenile rufous-morph, an adult dark-morph and a
average and is the fifth highest total ever.
                                                                                             dark-morph of unknown age.

                                        Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Red-tailed Hawk                                                        Noteworthy flights occurred very early and very late in the
   With the unsettled weather patterns seen in October this         season. Over August 29-30 in less than seven hours 75 redtails
year, perhaps a portion of the redtail flight was diverted          were counted, and on the two days of November 15-16 in less
elsewhere. The bulk of what was seen at this site was delayed       than ten hours 80 redtails, 79 rough-leggeds and 4 unidentified
until the early November. Certainly, overall totals were down       buteos were counted.
this fall, with the 6,530 tallied 18% below the ten-year average       The traditional opinion that an east wind is necessary for a
of 7,979. The peak flight was 651 on November 1.                    good hawk flight at Muskegon was borne out this year more
Rough-legged Hawk                                                   than in any other previous season.
   Roughlegs were recorded in very low numbers this year, the       Figure 4. Percentage of Hawks Counted at Muskegon Based
lowest since the late eighties. Only 29 were seen, and almost       on Wind Element
half of those were recorded on a single day, 13 on November         Year:            1998 2004 2005 2006
12. The breakdown based on plumage characteristics was 86%          north:           29%     26%    37%     34%
light morphs and 14% dark morphs.
                                                                    east:            19%     30%    42%     50%
Golden Eagle
                                                                    South:           32%     26%    15%     07%
   After the poorest showing in a decade during October,
                                                                    west:            20%     18%    06%     09%
Golden Eagles rebounded to have one of their strongest
Novembers ever. The 125 tallied for the season is just off the
10-year average of 130. Double-digit flights included 13 on         Species Information
November 2, 10 on November 3, 12 on November 10 and 10 on           Turkey Vulture
November 21. The break down based on age was 50% juveniles,
                                                                       132 were counted this season. This represented 10% of the
24% sub-adults, 9% adults and 17% of unknown age.
                                                                    total flight and a 1.7% increase over 2005.
American Kestrel
   Another solid kestrel migration was seen this season with
                                                                      4 were counted this season, 0.3% of the total flight, 0.1%
the 1,861 recorded 8% above the 10-year average of 1,726.
                                                                    decrease from 2005.
The peak day of 271 was September 15 and included a single
hour count of 172 birds.                                            Bald Eagle
Merlin                                                                 22 this season, 1.6% of the total flight, the same as last
   The Merlin count was down this year; the 45 recorded is
32% below the ten-year average of 66. High counts were seen         Northern Harrier
on September 24 and October 2 with four recorded on each              38 this season, 2.8% of the total, 0.4% increase over
of those days.                                                      2005.
Peregrine Falcon                                                    Sharp-shinned Hawk
   As with Merlins, the count of peregrines was also off              325 this season, 24.6% of the total, 14.9% decrease from
somewhat this fall. In all 47 were tallied, which is 23% below      2005.
their usual mark of 61 birds. Peak days were 4 recorded on          Cooper’s Hawk
September 14 and September 26.
                                                                      50 this season, 3.7% of the total, 0.3% increase over
   For more information, go to the Southeastern Michigan            2005.
Raptor Research Web site at: www.smrr.net
                                                                    Northern Goshawk
Muskegon Hawkwatch                                                    1 this season. 2 were counted last year.
Report submitted by Ric Pedler                                      Red-shouldered Hawk
   The fourth fall hawkwatch at Muskegon was conducted                2 this season. 3 were counted in 2005.
on 61 days between August 22 and November 22, 2006. Two
locations were used:
                                                                    Broad-winged Hawk
                                                                      71 this season, 5.3% of the total, 2% decrease from 2005.
   1. The dune at Muskegon State Park (MSP) north of the
Muskegon Channel used in the three previous seasons,                Red-tailed Hawk
   2. The upper deck of USCGC McLane, berthed 1/4 mile                 433 this season, 32.8% of the total, 16.6% increase over
south of the MSP dune along the south wall of the Muskegon          2005. Most of this increase came early and late in the season
Channel. This was the same location as last year with the benefit   (79 redtails in August and 80 in November compared with 6
of an additional 15 feet of elevation above ground level.           in August and 5 in November in 2005).
                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                             
Rough-legged Hawk                                                      Broad-winged Hawk were only common during the
   97 this season, 7.3% of the total, 3% increase over 2005.        last 10 days of September. Peak numbers were observed
The 62 roughlegs on November 15 set a daily record for              on September 20 (271) and on September 24 (392), both
the Muskegon hawkwatch. That day began with heavy fog               exceptionally high daily totals for the site. The first Red-tailed
along the Lake Michigan shore. When the first hawkwatcher           Hawk of the season was observed on September 12, but few
arrived at 10 a.m., five roughlegs were perching in trees, flying   others were seen until the peak movements during the fourth
short distances and perching again. Rough-legs migrated very        week of October. The first Rough-legged Hawk of the season
low, especially until the fog lifted at 11 a.m. Hazy conditions     was observed on October 14; overall very few were seen this
continued the rest of the day with birds passing steadily until     season. Only 6 Golden Eagle were observed this season: 2
3 p.m. when their flight virtually stopped, while the redtails      each on October 16, 20 and 24.
kept migrating.                                                        The first American Kestrel of the season was observed on
Golden Eagle                                                        August 30 and the last on October 18, with greatest numbers
                                                                    observed between September 16-25. A few Merlin were
     1 this season (November 15) matching the 1 in 2005.            observed almost daily from early September to mid-October.
American Kestrel                                                    A family of 4 Peregrine Falcon frequented the cape during
   94 this season, 7.1% of the total, 6.6% decrease from last       the first three weeks of August. These birds were observed
year.                                                               pursuing anything that flew by, including a small flock of
                                                                    cormorant one day. Peregrines were observed almost daily
                                                                    until mid-September after which few birds were seen. The last
   7 this season, 16 in 2005. However, most of last season’s        observation of the season was on October 11. Turkey Vulture
birds were observed from a site nearer the Lake Michigan            were observed sporadically until mid-September, after which
shoreline, so no comparisons should be made.                        they were observed almost daily with most of the birds moving
Peregrine Falcon                                                    through between September 24 and October 5. The last of
  18 this season, 1.3% of the total, the same percentage as         the season was observed on October 20.
2005.                                                                   For more information of the Thunder Cape Bird
                                                                    Observatory go to the Web site at: http://www.tbfn.net/
Western Great Lakes
Thunder Cape Bird Observatory                                       Illinois Beach State Park (IBSP)
(TCBO),Thunder Bay, Ontario                                         Report submitted by Vic Berardi
Report submitted by John Woodcock                                       The hawkwatch at Illinois Beach is located just south of the
   Thunder Cape Bird Observatory (TCBO) (http://www.                Wisconsin/Illinois border on the western shoreline of Lake
tbfn.org/tcbotbfn.htm) is a joint project of the Thunder Bay        Michigan near the towns of Winthrop Harbor and Zion. It is
Field Naturalists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources -          also the southernmost fall count site of the Great Lakes region.
Wildlife Assessment Program (OMNR-WAP), and Bird Studies            The count ran from August 26 through November 26. The
Canada – Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, working             fall of 2006 marked the seventh complete year of monitoring
in partnership with Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, and the         hawk migration at Illinois Beach State Park.
Canadian Coast Guard.                                                   Illinois Beach is a notable fall falcon site, notably for Merlin
   TCBO is located at the tip of the Sibley Peninsula jutting       and Peregrine Falcon. 2006 was no exception. Along with the
south into Lake Superior on the edge of the boreal forest about     hawkwatch at Concordia University in Wisconsin and Hawk
25km east of the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The cape is          Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota, only a few east coast hawk watches
isolated, accessible only by a 10km boat ride from Silver Islet     exceed IBSP in Merlin and Peregrine Falcon counts. The end
or a 13km hike.                                                     of September usually marks the peak of Peregrine Falcons with
   Bald Eagle were observed most days after the end of              Merlin following shortly behind into October. Illinois Beach
August, with peak numbers seen the third and fourth weeks of        once again led the flyway in fall 2006 with its Merlin count of
October. Northern Harrier numbers peaked in mid-October.            513, which was also the site’s best year ever recorded. The single
Sharp-shinned Hawks were observed most days, except the first       biggest day occurring on October 12 with 87 counted.
week of August and the last week of October with the bulk               The total count number was the second highest recorded
of the birds moving in September. Most of the few Northern          thus far, with 7,362 birds, up considerably from 2005’s total
Goshawk observed this season were seen during the fourth            of 3,884. Several new annual site records were also achieved.
week of October.                                                    These include: Northern Harrier (288), Bald Eagle (51), Sharp-
                                                                    shinned Hawk (2,333), Cooper’s Hawk (180), Golden Eagle
                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
(5) and Merlin (513). The highlight of the season was the two     16,000 the next and also had a day with over 6,000 about a
Swainson’s Hawks counted, a juvenile on September 24 and          week later. This gave a total of 36,525 broadwings, which is
an adult almost a month later on October 22.                      below the average of 55,436, but well within the range of
                                                                  broadwings counted from year to year.
Concordia University Hawkwatch (CUH),                             October
Milwaukee, Wisconsin                                                 October was the opposite of September and August.
Count conducted by Bill Cowart and Seth Thomas Cutright           Favorable conditions were recorded on 15 of the 30 days of
                                                                  counting in October, including a powerful cold front in the
   Concordia is known mostly for falcon flights and close
                                                                  middle of the month. Numbers for Red-tailed Hawks (who
looks at migrating raptors, especially Sharp-shinned Hawks
                                                                  migrate primarily during October) was above average (11,799
and Merlin. The Merlin count was excellent in 2006 with 254
                                                                  in 2006 compared with the average of 8,741). This included 4
recorded. Also noteworthy were the 1,980 Broad-winged
                                                                  days with over 1,000 redtails, and an additional 6 days with over
                                                                  800 redtails. Interesting redtail plumages included dark morphs,
   The hawkwatch at Concordia University is located just          Krider’s, Harlan’s, partial albino and one full albino Red-tail.
north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on the western shoreline of        Other birds of note in October include 3 Red-shouldered
Lake Michigan. It is approximately 60 miles north of Illinois     Hawks and 3 Short-eared Owls. One Swainson’s Hawk was
Beach State Park hawkwatch “as the falcon flies.” The site is     recorded in October, as well as 2 in September.
on a 180’ bluff overlooking the lake.
                                                                      The first four days of November provided impressive
Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve (HRNR), Duluth,                         flights of redtails and Bald Eagles, and good numbers of
Minnesota                                                         Golden Eagles and Rough-legged Hawks; however, after this
Report Submitted by Corrie Borgman                                good start was a long period of static weather (no cold fronts,
  2006 marked the thirty-fifth consecutive year a full-time       warmer than average temperatures), and this resulted in a lack
count was conducted at the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve near         of movement from the later migrants. Low numbers were
Duluth, Minnesota. The fall 2006 season total of 65,364 raptors   recorded for Northern Goshawks (expected at this low in their
was below average.                                                10-year cyclic pattern) and Rough-legged Hawks.
August                                                                Hawk Ridge is located on the western tip of Lake Superior
                                                                  near Duluth, Minnesota. For more information on Hawk
   A total of 443 birds were tallied from August 15-31, well      Ridge, please visit www.hawkridge.org.
below the average of about 1,000. Favorable wind (west or
northwest) conditions were recorded on only 6 of 15 days,
which can attribute for the low numbers during this month.
                                          hawkwatching on the upper peninSula                                  photo: Vic berardi
   The first part of September
followed the same trend as August,
with below average numbers and
unfavorable wind conditions the rule.
Unfortunately, unfavorable wind
conditions spanned a good portion
of the peaks of Broad-winged Hawk,
Sharp-shinned Hawk and American
Kestrel migration. Since these three
species make up about 80% of the
total number of raptors counted
each season at Hawk Ridge, it makes
sense that the overall number of
raptors counted in 2006 would be
below average, and this was indeed
the case. Fortunately, good conditions
prevailed on a few days near the end
of the month, and the site recorded
over 13,000 broadwings one day, over

                                 Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                              
Eastern Great Plains                                                 Nestled in western Iowa’s Loess Hills and located a short
                                                                  distance from Omaha, the hawkwatch at Hitchcock overlooks
Grammer Grove Hawkwatch (GGH), Iowa                               the Missouri River Valley and Nebraska to the west. Because
Report Submitted by Mark Proescholdt                              of its location, raptor species from both the east and west
   Grammer Grove is located in central Iowa along the Iowa        come to meet here. Hitchcock is one of the central flyway’s
River about 60 miles north and east of Des Moines. A total        western most count sites.
of 4,004 raptors were tallied in the fall 2006, which is a new       Below average numbers were recorded for most species.
annual record for the site.                                       Of the 20 annual and semi-annual raptor and vulture species
   The count at Grammer Grove began August 30 and ended           recorded at Hitchcock, 16 declined when compared to the
on December 6. Two new site records were recorded for Bald        2005 counts. Additionally, 17 species posted counts that were
Eagle (391) and Broad-winged Hawk (1,703). Sixteen species        below the four-year full-coverage averages at Hitchcock, with
were recorded, including a Prairie Falcon on October 14.          only 2 species posting slightly above average counts and 1
                                                                  right at the average level. Only 18 species were recorded this
                                                                  year, with both the irregular Black Vulture and the previously
2006 Count Data for Grammar Grove                                 annual Mississippi Kite missed altogether in 2006.
turkey Vulture                 299                                   Weather played the key role in the way things played out
osprey                          16                                this year—frequent, weak cold fronts seem to have produced a
                                                                  steady broad-front migration. With the wind almost constantly
bald eagle                     391
                                                                  at their backs, migrant raptors seem to have had little reason
northern harrier                43                                to concentrate, stage or even to use the Loess Hills at all.
Sharp-shinned hawk             441                                Sightings this year often followed little of the usual pattern
                                                                  of ridge approach at HNC; migrant raptors were regularly
cooper’s hawk                  170                                spotted all over the sky. The groups, kettles and streams of
red-shouldered hawk              3                                birds that occur regularly most years were rare this year. Much
                                                                  of the migration, even during the so-called “prime period” in
broad-winged hawk            1703
                                                                  late September and early October, consisted of single birds
Swainson’s hawk                  3                                moving high and fast.
red-tailed hawk                856                                   This was definitely not a “normal” year in many ways, and
rough-legged hawk                3                                hawkwatchers regularly detected patterns that hadn’t been seen
                                                                  at HNC before in well over a decade of part-time and full-time
golden eagle                     3                                counting. In November, for example, veteran hawkwatcher
american kestrel                36                                Clem Klaphake noted the high percentage of Bald Eagles
                                                                  seen as “distant specks off to the east.” Traditionally, the
Merlin                           5
                                                                  majority of migrant Bald Eagles are recorded over the main
peregrine falcon                 9                                Loess Hills ridge system or seen following the Missouri River
prairie falcon                   1                                to the west.
                                                                     If the number of days where single day counts topped 450
Unidentified	Raptors		          22
                                                                  raptors and vultures during the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons
total raptors                4004                                 are compared, only two such days, with counts of 500 and 777
                                                                  birds, were posted in 2006. In 2004, by contrast, there were
Hitchcock Nature Center Hawkwatch (HNC),                          four “big days” that accounted for a total of 3,614 birds. In
                                                                  2005 eight big days accounted for 7,669 birds.
                                                                     Given the tendencies prevailing in 2006, it is not surprising
Report Submitted by Mark Orsag
                                                                  that not a single season record was set this year, and only one
   After a record-setting 2005 season and the completion of the   new day record was set and another tied. Species that have
new hawk tower, Hitchcock’s hawkwatchers eagerly anticipated      tended to rely heavily on the Loess Hills ridge formations
the 2006 season. What followed was a major disappointment.        by tacking into southerly winds -- Turkey Vultures, Ospreys,
Just 9,917 raptors and vultures were recorded by the last day     Rough-legged Hawks, and Golden Eagles -- posted particularly
of the 2006 count, December 20. Overall flight volume was         dismal numbers with counts in all cases falling at least 25%
barely 61% of 2005’s record level and was 17% below the four-     below average. The last three weeks of October were the
year full-coverage average. Many slow flight days occurred in     only time in 2006 that raptors flowed through in expected
September, followed by a fairly strong October, but the flight    numbers.
dropped precipitously again in November.
                           Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
August                                                               tailed Hawk flew over the tower every 30 seconds. The total
   Six days of counting in the last two weeks of August              of 777 birds at the end of the day turned out to be the best
produced just 68 birds, by far the worst ever for August at          day of 2006; never before at HNC had the best day come so
HNC. The Turkey Vulture total of 15 birds was stunningly low         late in the season.
in the light of some past counts with over 200 for the month.            The rest of the month proceeded in fairly traditional
The one good flight of the month occurred on August 26 when          fashion. Particularly notable were flights on October 17 (192,
an early push of immature Red-tailed Hawks (17) occurred             including a light-morph juvenile Ferruginous Hawk, a Golden
after one of the stronger cold fronts of the month.                  Eagle and 3 Merlins), October 21 (377, including 300 redtails
                                                                     and a Northern Goshawk), and October 22 (188, including 126
                                                                     redtails, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and a Merlin). At month’s
September                                                            end, the watch had recorded 5,200 birds — the second best
    The best total of the entire first half of the month (60         October in HNC history.
raptors and vultures) occurred on September 14 when 46
Turkey Vultures were counted tacking into southerly winds
accompanied by a small number of raptors (Ospreys,                   November
sharpshins, broadwings and redtails). The flight showed some             November dashed whatever hopes remained that a decent
further signs of life on September 16 with a strong low altitude     season could be salvaged. Poor flights dominated the early
push of Turkey Vultures (99). The vultures were accompanied          part of the month. By the time the raptor flight got going
by 27 raptors including 6 Peregrine Falcons.                         again, it was simply too late in the season. Little in the way of
    September 20 is traditionally the start of the prime migration   a strong Bald Eagle push developed until late in the month
period at HNC, and even in 2006, the day didn’t disappoint. An       and the total of migrant raptors for the month was only 1,097
early morning liftoff of Broad-winged Hawks contributed to           -- by far the worst November total of the full coverage era at
a final tally of 227 raptors and vultures; the day’s broadwing       HNC. A well-timed late afternoon push of Bald Eagles took
tally was 155. For the rest of September, with the exception         place during HNC’s well-attended “Eagle Day” festival on
of a dip below 100 birds due to unfavorable conditions on            November 11 just as the deck was most crowded with visitors.
September 23, triple-digit flights were the norm. A moderately       Between 3-4 p.m. 30 Bald Eagles, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a
strong Pacific cold front produced back-to-back strong flights       Red-tailed Hawk, and a Merlin moved past the tower.
on 27 September 27 and 28 (427 and 500). On the first day,               November’s other highlight was a two-day push that began
219 Swainson’s Hawks led a diverse raptor flight of 13 species       in the afternoon of November 28 and continued into the next
that was accompanied by a surge of southbound Franklin’s             morning. 82 Bald Eagles were counted the first day with 62
Gulls (75,000).                                                      more showing up the second day.
    The next day, the north winds continued and an unusually
even mix of three buteo species (Broad-winged Hawk,                  December
Swainson’s Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk) each topped 100
                                                                         December was pretty average for the last month of the
birds. The broadwings dominated the morning, the Swainson’s
                                                                     season with a total of 424 migrant raptors recorded, but after
Hawks early afternoon, and the redtails the last few hours
                                                                     poor totals in August, September and November, this was too
of the day. The month ended with solid if unspectacular
                                                                     little too late to salvage the 2006 season. The two best days in
numbers. The damage, however, was already done--HNC had
                                                                     December were the 14th and 16th with 61 Bald Eagles on the
experienced its worst ever full coverage September.
                                                                     14th and 59 two days later.

                                                                     Species Accounts
   After the traditional Swainson’s Hawk migratory window
                                                                        Black Vulture (0) This species failed to make an appearance
closed on the 5th without a big flight, it was a strong late push
                                                                     this year. The Black Vulture seems to be an irregular or at best
of Turkey Vultures that jump-started the month’s flight. A
                                                                     semi-annual early season rarity at the hawkwatch.
total of 302 vultures were recorded on October 7, and another
222 were recorded on October 8, along with solid numbers                Turkey Vulture (2,021) A disastrous September led to a
of redtails and sharpshins. Overall counts on each day topped        count that was 28% below the four-year average for HNC. In
370 raptors and vultures. A huge four day burst of Red-tailed        2006, for the first time in HNC history, October was the top
Hawks followed a strong cold front, with the peak of this push       month for Turkey Vultures at the watch. A big three day push
on October 11. The lone new day record set in 2006 came as           of vultures between October 7-9 produced nearly as many
631 redtails passed the hawk tower. During a three hour span         southbound birds as was recorded in all of September. The
between 9 a.m. and noon, on average, a new migrant Red-              peak flight of 302 kicked off this surge on October 7. The
                                                                     last Turkey Vulture was recorded on November 9. As with all
                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                               
the species that tend to move on south winds at Hitchcock,            Red-shouldered Hawk (6) This total was 4% below the
2006 was a very poor season for Turkey Vultures. The decline       four-year average, though this species is too rare at Hitchcock
in 2006 followed years of steadily increasing counts where         to post statistically significant totals. The strange element in
the weather was more favorable. A shift to a somewhat later        this year’s flight was its timing. An early push of immatures
migratory timetable for this species has also been observed in     made August (not October or November) the top month for
recent seasons and intensified this season.                        a species usually regarded as a middle to late season migrant.
    Osprey (73) This count was fully 40% below the four-year       The peak flight of 2 occurred on August 16. The last bird of
HNC average. Migratory timing was slightly early with the peak     the season was recorded on November 7. Despite its rarity,
flight of 10 on September 11. The last Osprey was recorded         this species has posted fairly consistent annual totals at HNC
on October 6. The drop in 2006 came after two very strong          in recent years, though this year’s flight timing was highly
flights in 2004 and 2005.                                          abnormal.
    Bald Eagle (729) This total was 20% below average.                Broad-winged Hawk (466) This was 29% below the four-
November, as usual, was the top month, and the somewhat            year average, but in this one case the average really doesn’t tell
shallow peak flight of 82 on November 28 was just a bit            the entire tale. In 2005, the Hurricane Katrina-induced flight
late. August Bald Eagles were unheard of as recently as five       of over 1,600 birds was very abnormal for HNC and skews
years ago but now occur annually. The site’s first in 2006 was     the four-year full coverage average. In reality, 2006 was a pretty
recorded moving south on August 19.                                normal year for broadwings at Hitchcock. A total of four
                                                                   dark-morph birds were seen in 2006. The peak of the flight
    Northern Harrier (306) Despite a slight decline from the
                                                                   was slightly early with the first two birds appearing August 18,
2005 total of 315, the Northern Harrier was one of the few
                                                                   the peak flight of 155 occurring on September 20, and the last
species that posted solid totals in 2006--3% above the four-
                                                                   broadwing was recorded on October 9. September, as usual,
year average. The first harrier was seen on August 19 with
                                                                   was the top month for this species.
the record-tying peak flight of 42 occurring on October 9.
The harrier flight was more concentrated in October than it           Swainson’s Hawk (1,075) In a season full of
has been in other seasons, but this species continues to post      disappointments, this count for the “signature” species of
strong totals.                                                     Hitchcock Nature Center Hawkwatch was certainly the worst.
                                                                   Hardly any big kettles were seen this year, and the overall
    Sharp-shinned Hawk (957) This total was 8% below the
                                                                   count was 46% below average. Other than the greatly reduced
four-year average. A very poor September doomed this species
                                                                   volume, it was a pretty normal year in terms of migratory
to below average totals for 2006, but an above average October
                                                                   timing. Two dark and two rufous morph birds were recorded.
mostly mitigated the slow start to the migration. The 2003
                                                                   The first Swainson’s Hawk was recorded on September 4; the
season saw a similarly “late” pattern for this species, which
                                                                   peak flight of 219 occurred on September 27. The last bird was
can peak in either September or October at HNC. The 2006
                                                                   seen on October 12. September was the top month this season
peak flight of 82 occurred on October 4 and was preceded by a
                                                                   for this species, which peaks either in very late September
flight of 81 sharpshins on October 3. The first Sharp-shinned
                                                                   or very early October. The weather pattern almost certainly
Hawk of 2006 was seen on August 19.
                                                                   caused broad front migration that led to many of the birds
    Cooper’s Hawk (211) This total was 2% below the four-          passing to the west of HNC this year.
year average, though this was actually a slight increase over
                                                                      Red-tailed Hawk (3,836) The Red-tailed Hawk was one of
the 2005 total. Cooper’s Hawk migration has always peaked
                                                                   the few species that posted a good count this year -- 6% above
in September at HNC, but this year it very nearly (but not
                                                                   the four-year average. Migration timing was quite normal. In
quite) peaked in October -- 99 counted in October vs. 100
                                                                   the top month of October a 2,599 redtails were counted. The
counted in September. The single day peak of 17 did, however,
                                                                   peak flight of 631 occurred on October 11 and constituted
occur on October 8. Both the Cooper’s Hawk and the Sharp-
                                                                   the single new record high count established at HNC in 2006.
shinned Hawk have shown a tendency to post rather flat but
                                                                   As usual at HNC, the redtails were a very diverse group in
steady totals with slight ups and downs but little in the way
                                                                   terms of subspecies and plumages-- 9 Krider’s, 32 Harlan’s, 1
of trends.
                                                                   Harlan’s Light Morph, 32 Western Dark Morphs, 6 Western
    Northern Goshawk (5) This rare species also displayed a        Rufous Morphs, and 10 dark-morph indeterminates were
late migratory pattern in 2006. The season total for goshawks      recorded this season.
was 23% below average, but given the small totals seen at HNC,
                                                                      Rough-legged Hawk (20) This count was a dismal 41%
this can not be deemed statistically significant. The 2005 total
                                                                   below the four-year full coverage average. The whole flight was
was 3 birds. The first goshawk appeared somewhat late on
                                                                   also slightly late with the first bird not seen until October 31,
October 13, and for the first time ever, December was the top
                                                                   with December the top month. The peak flight of 4 occurred
month. The peak flight of two occurred on December 1.
                                                                   on December 16. Three (15%) of this season’s birds were dark
                                                                   morphs-- a fairly typical percentage for the HNC flight. While
0                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
eastern hawkwatches often record 35-40% of their roughlegs            Merlin (27) This was an exactly average count for the four-
as dark morphs, more westerly hawkwatches often record             year full coverage span. As usual, HNC recorded both Taiga
dark morphs as only 10% of their roughleg flight. Centrally-       and Prairie Merlins. September was the top month with the
located HNC once again conformed more to the Western               typically timed peak flight of 4 occurring on September 30.
pattern in 2006.                                                   The first Merlin was recorded on September 2 and the last on
    Ferruginous Hawk (1)A lone juvenile light morph was            December 18.
recorded on October 17, the second year in a row that a               Peregrine Falcon (31) The peregrine count was below
Ferruginous Hawk has graced HNC on that date. This count           average this season at HNC, though not by as much as many of
is 43% below the four-year average, but because of its rarity at   the other raptor species. 2006’s count was only 4% below the
HNC, this result can’t be deemed statistically significant.        full coverage average, and the flight’s timing was quite typical
    Golden Eagle (9) This total was 57% below the full-            with September the top month and the twin peak flights of
coverage average. This species, like Rough-legged Hawk,            6 occurring on September 16 and 30. The last Peregrine was
Osprey and Turkey Vulture, seems inclined to tack into             recorded on October 15.
moderate to strong southerly winds at HNC, and all such               Prairie Falcon (4) This species also posted below average
species with this preference posted very poor counts in 2006.      counts, down 24% vs. the full coverage average, though the
November was the top month. The first Golden Eagle was             relative rarity of this species at HNC again makes the data not
recorded on October 12. The last two were recorded on              statistically significant. October was the top month with the first
November 21.                                                       Prairie recorded on October 12 and another on October 31.
    American Kestrel (107) 2006 was yet another bad year at        The last one of the season was recorded on December 7.
HNC for this species, which has shown a steady pattern of             Mississippi Kite (0)
decline over the years. 2006’s count was 18% below average.           Well below the four-year full coverage average of 8, 2006
The peak flight of 18 occurred on September 27. September          was the first time this species has been absent at HNC during
was, as usual, the top month for this species.                     the full-coverage period.

hawk watcherS at illinoiS beach State park.                                                                       photo:Vic berardi

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                1
                                                                                   In most of the western raptor monitoring sites, recent
         Western Mountain                                                       declining numbers of raptors correspond to the widespread
                                                                                and prolonged drought that has plagued much of the interior
        Continental Flyways                                                     West after 1998. For most species, especially the two smaller
                                                                                accipiters, low counts generally were also the rule in 2006
                                                                                across fall monitoring sites.
                                                                                   The overall count dropped to 48% below average in the
                                                                                Utah’s Wellsville Mountains, 30% below average in the Bridger
                                                                                Mountains of southwestern Montana, 27% in the Goshute
                                                                                Mountains of northeastern Nevada, and 24% in the Grand
                                                                                Canyon of Arizona. The low 2006 count, 51% below average, at
                                                                                Commissary Ridge may also fit this pattern. However, the 2006
                                                                                counts at the other sites were more moderate when compared to
                                               1                                just the last 3–4 seasons at those sites. Counts in the Manzano
                                                                                Mountains of central New Mexico in the southern Rocky
                                                                                Mountains remained relatively stable for most species over the
  Flyway Editor:                                                                past five years. The full count at South Livingston, Alberta, is
  Open                                                     3                    a new one, so no comparisons can yet be made.
                                                                                   The full technical reports for each of the HawkWatch
                                                   4                            International sites summarized in this report are available at
                                                                                content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=45. The full South
 1.   South livingstone, ab                                                     Livingstone blog entries are available at http://www.
 2.   bridger Mountains, Mt                        6                            eaglewatch.ca/Livingstone.html.
 3.   commissary ridge, wy
 4.   wellsville Mtns., ut                                      7
 5.   goshute Mtns., nV                                                         South Livingstone, Alberta
 6.   grand canyon, az
 7.   Manzano Mountains, nM
                                                                                From blog entries by Principal Observer Peter Sherrington
                                                                                    “Observations of short duration made in the past few
State/Province Coordinators:                                                    years near Frank at the eastern end of the Crowsnest Pass
Canadian Rockies and Plains: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and               have indicated that greater numbers of Golden Eagles pass
Yukon Territory: Peter Sherrington                                              through that area than are recorded at the Mt. Lorette site.
Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah: Steve Hoffman                      We have long thought the Livingstone Range should funnel
Bozeman, MT                                                                     separate migration streams into a more concentrated stream
Idaho, Montana, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Wyoming: Fred Tilly                       at the south end of the range. We know for a fact that the
Box  Arlee, MT 21                                                           Lorette site does not allow us to see birds passing along
                                                                                ranges further east and the South Livingstone site may prove
    The Western Mountain Continental Flyway consists of Alberta,
                                                                                much better. Therefore, we decided that during fall 2006 we
Sakatchewan, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada,
                                                                                would conduct a complete set of observations at the South
Arizona, and New Mexico.
                                                                                Livingstone site and, because we have only a limited number
    Wide open spaces, an abundance of mountain ranges and little                of principal observers, a shorter set of observations at the Mt.
influence from water barriers characterize this flyway. Consequently, it        Lorette site.” - Peter Sherrington
does not see the kinds of concentrations of hawks that occur elsewhere.
                                                                                    Peter Sherrington started the South Livingstone, Alberta,
Still, the right situations do provide worthwhile and enjoyable hawk
                                                                                observations in late August, and data gathering at that site
watching. For example, the Great Salt Lake and associated salt flats
                                                                                continued until early December. A total of 7217 migrating
offer essentially no food resources or roosting cover for migrant raptors. In
                                                                                raptors, including 4400 Golden Eagles, were counted at South
response, migrants are diverted in the directions of sites such as Goshute
                                                                                Livingstone in fall 2006. Golden Eagles accounted for nearly
Mountain, Nevada to the west and Wellsville Mountains, Utah to the
                                                                                61% of the total count. Sharp-shinned Hawks, with 1247,
east. Hawk watching is relatively young in this flyway, with the Salt Lake
                                                                                or 17% of the total count, together amounted to 78% of
City based Hawk Watch International the leading player in pioneering
                                                                                migrating raptors.
new sites in the U.S. portion. Hawk watching has recently picked up
steam in the Canadian portion, as well, with four digit annual totals of            The next highest tally was for Bald Eagles, with 483; Red-
Golden Eagles being featured at sites in Alberta.                               tailed Hawks with 283; followed by Cooper’s Hawk, 220;
                                                                                Northern Goshawk, 154; and Rough-legged Hawk 141.
2                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
   The count of Golden Eagles exceeded 100 birds for the           observations much more than usual in 2006, precluding a
day for the first time on September 30, though the total had       record-high 21 full days of observation (1997–2005 average
neared that twice before. All told 15 days had Golden Eagle        of 11 days) and reducing observations to less than 4 hours on
counts above 100 birds, with the largest single day count of       three other days (average 6 days). Observations occurred on
367 on October 11. Two other days had counts above 300             only 45 of 66 possible observation days between August 27
birds—October 9 with 363 and October 5 with 336.                   and October 31 in 2006 and were limited both by poor weather
                                                                   and days when the weather may have been decent but heavy
Bridger Mountains, Montana                                         snow cover precluded site access.
Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Hawkwatch International               2006 featured a low proportion of days where mostly
The observers tallied 1,784 migrant raptors of 17 species          cloudy or overcast skies prevailed, while the proportions of
during the fall 2006 season at Hawkwatch International’s           active days featuring predominantly fair skies and transitional
(HWI) Bridger Mountain, Montana, site. The total count             skies were above average. Visibility reducing fog and especially
was a significant 30% below average, similar to counts in          haze (mostly due to wildfire smoke) were unusually prevalent
2004 and 2005. For the fourth year in a row, the count of          in 2006, though not enough to compromise estimated average
Golden Eagles fell to a new record low. In contrast, a record      visibility. Data collected in 2006 during active observations
high count was recorded for Prairie Falcons.                       indicated a continued shift toward calmer winds.
    The flight was comprised of 53% eagles, 23% accipiters, 7%         Adjusted 2006 passage rates were significantly below
buteos, 5% falcons, 3% harriers, and <1% each of Ospreys,          average for Swainson’s Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Golden
vultures, and unidentified raptors. The proportion of eagles       Eagles and American Kestrels, but were significantly above
was a record low, while the proportions of all other species       average for Turkey Vultures, Rough-legged Hawks, Merlins,
groups except buteos and falcons were significantly above          and Prairie and Peregrine Falcons.
average. The most numerous species were the Golden Eagle              Regression analyses of data through 2006 revealed a
(48% of the total count), Sharp-shinned Hawk (19%), Cooper’s       highly significant linear decreasing trend for Golden Eagles,
Hawk (10%), Red-tailed Hawk (5%), Bald Eagle (4%), and             reflecting a marginally significant declining trend for adults
Northern Harrier (3%). All other species each comprised 2%         and a significant declining trend for immatures/subadults. A
or less of the total.                                              marginally significant convex quadratic trend was indicated
    The Bridger Mountains Raptor Migration Project in              for American Kestrels, tracking a marginal increasing pattern
southwestern Montana is an ongoing effort to monitor long-         through 1998 followed by a mostly declining pattern. In
term population trends of raptors using this northern portion      contrast, a significant concave quadratic trend was indicated
of the Rocky Mountain Flyway (Omland and Hoffman 1996,             for Prairie Falcons, tracking a slight decline between 1992 and
Hoffman et al. 2002, Hoffman and Smith 2003). HWI initiated        1997, relative stability through 2004, and then a sharp jump in
full-season counts at the site in 1991, with standardized annual   2005 and at least a moderately high count in 2006. No other
monitoring beginning in 1992. This flyway is noted for large       significant trends were indicated.
concentrations of Golden Eagles. To date, 18 species of raptors
have been observed migrating along the Bridger Mountains,
with annual counts typically ranging between 2,000 and 3,500
migrants. The 2006 count marked the 15th consecutive full
season autumn count of migratory raptors at the site.
     The Bridger Mountains are a relatively small range that
runs primarily along a north–south axis. From Sacagawea Peak
(2,950 m elevation), the range extends southward for 40 km
before meeting the Gallatin Valley 5 km northeast of Bozeman,
Montana. Consistent westerly winds collide with the Bridger
range and create the lift that attracts southbound migrating
raptors each fall. The observation site is a helicopter-landing
platform atop the Bridger Bowl Ski Area at an elevation of
2,610 m. The site lies within the Gallatin National Forest on
the east slope of the mountain range, about 25 km north of
Bozeman and 3 km north of Saddle Peak.
    Compared to the past nine seasons (the period during which
detailed weather records have been compiled and analyzed),
inclement weather and difficult access conditions hampered         aMerican keStrel                        photo: JoSeph kennedy

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                             
    Among seven species for which relevant age-specific data
were available, counts of immature birds were below average
for all species except both species of eagles, while counts
of identified adults were at least slightly above average for
four species. This translated to significantly below-average
immature : adult ratios for Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s
Hawks, and Northern Goshawks, suggesting that juvenile
recruitment among Rocky Mountain source populations may
have been low in 2006 for accipiters. For Golden Eagles and
Bald Eagles, the relative abundance of immature/subadult
birds was significantly above average, but low overall counts of
adult birds suggest that this may be misleading as a potential
indicator of regional productivity.
                                                                    turkey Vulture                             photo: JoSeph kennedy

Commissary Ridge, Wyoming                                               In 2006 the sky conditions were more unsettled and stormy than
Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Hawkwatch International             in any previous full year of operations. Temperatures averaged cool,
                                                                    with the overall daily average the coolest on record. Wind speeds
     The observers tallied only 1,841 migrants of 17 species
                                                                    were more consistently moderate than during many years when
during the 2006 season at Commissary Ridge, Wyoming,
                                                                    a broader range of variation applied. Similar to several previous
which was 51% below the 2002–2005 average. The flight was
                                                                    years, steady W–NW winds predominated with SW–W winds
comprised of 36% buteos, 32% accipiters 16% eagles, 11%
                                                                    second most common, but the 2006 pattern differed markedly
falcons, 2% vultures, 1% Northern Harriers, 1% unidentified
                                                                    from the 2005 pattern when SW–W winds predominated and
raptors, and <1% Ospreys.
                                                                    W–NW winds prevailed half as often as in most years. Visibility
    Only the proportion of Northern Harriers was significantly      was good in 2006, primarily because of the low occurrence of fog
above average, and the proportion of accipiters was significantly   and especially haze. Due to unsettled weather, stronger winds, and
below average. The most abundant species were the Red-              cooler temperatures, thermal lift conditions rated poor to fair on
tailed Hawk (32% of the total count), Cooper’s Hawk (16%),          a high 86% of the active observation days.
Sharp-shinned Hawk (12%), Golden Eagle (11%), American
                                                                         Counts occurred on 56 of 66 possible days between
Kestrel (8%), Bald Eagle (4%), Swainson’s Hawk (3%), and
                                                                    August 27 and 31 October 31 2006, and totaling 443.58
Turkey Vulture (2%). All other species each comprised <1%
                                                                    hours of observation, the lowest yet recorded for the project
of the total.
                                                                    during years when full-season observations were planned and
    The Commissary Ridge Raptor Migration Project in                possible.
southwest Wyoming is an ongoing effort to monitor long-
term trends in populations of raptors using the central Rocky
Mountain migratory flyway. Before 2002, no long-term raptor         Wellsville Mountains, Utah
migration surveys were conducted in Wyoming, and coverage           Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Hawkwatch International
of the central Rocky Mountains between Montana and New
                                                                        In fall 2006 observers tallied 1,952 migrant raptors of 16
Mexico was generally sparse. After two years of exploratory
                                                                    species in the Wellsville Mountains, Utah. The total combined-
surveys throughout Wyoming, in 2002 HWI initiated the first
                                                                    species count was a significant 48% below the 1991–2004
full-season, fall-migration count at Commissary Ridge, with
                                                                    average. Below-average counts occurred for 15 of 17 species
annual counts continuing each year since.
                                                                    usually seen at the site, with the differences significant for all
    The 2006 counts were below average for all species except       species. Most notably, the counts of Northern Harriers (97),
Prairie Falcons, but significantly so only for Turkey Vultures      Golden Eagles (20), and American Kestrels (328) all fell to a
(65% below average), Sharp-shinned Hawks (-78%), American           record lows, and the count of Turkey Vultures (3), Cooper’s
Kestrels (-53%), and Red-tailed (-46%) and Rough-legged             Hawks (312) and Northern Goshawks (8) were the second
Hawks (-35%). New record lows were set for the first three          lowest recorded to date. In contrast, the Merlin count (18) was
species. When translated to passage rates, the 2006 value for       the third highest for that species since 1977.
Cooper’s Hawks also was significantly below average.
                                                                        The flight was comprised of 55% accipiters, 19% falcons,
     The study site is located atop the southern end of             18% buteos, 5% harriers, 1% eagles, 1% Ospreys, and
Commissary Ridge on the southwestern tip of South Fork              <1% vultures and unidentified raptors. The proportional
Mountain, about 37 km north of Kemmerer, Wyoming, on                representation of accipiters and Ospreys was significantly
land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Kemmerer             above average, while the proportional representation of all
Field Office.                                                       other species groups was significantly below average.

                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
    The most numerous species were the Sharp-shinned Hawk               Comparisons of adjusted passage rates reveal that 14 of
(38% of the total count), American Kestrel (17%), Cooper’s          the 15 species showed significantly below average (1991–2004)
Hawk (16%), Red-tailed Hawk (15%), Northern Harrier (5%),           rates, and only Merlins showed a significantly above average
Swainson’s Hawk (3%), and Golden Eagle (1%). All other              rate. In fact, for most species, especially the two smaller
species each comprised ≤1% of the total count.                      accipiters, low counts were generally the rule in 2006 across
    Steve Hoffman and Wayne Potts discovered the Wellsville         fall migration count sites in the interior West.
fall site in 1976 and conducted season-long counts from 1977            Regression analyses of adjusted passage rates since 1987
through 1979 (Hoffman and Potts 1985). The migration count          indicated marginally to highly significant quadratic trends for
was suspended from 1980 to 1986, and then reestablished by          10 species (Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-
HawkWatch International (HWI) in 1987. Annual counts have           tailed Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Golden
occurred at the site since then, except during 2002 and 2005.       Eagle, Northern Goshawk, American Kestrel and Prairie
To date, 17 species of raptors have been observed migrating         Falcon), generally tracking hill-shaped patterns with increases
along the Wellsville Mountains, with annual counts typically        through the early to mid-1990s followed by recent declines.
ranging between 2,500 and 5,000 migrants. This fall 2006            Turkey Vultures showed the same basic pattern as the others
count marked the twenty-first full-season autumn count of           except that a high 2004 passage rate appears anomalous.
migratory raptors at the site.                                      This common, recent pattern appears to correlate with rising
    The Wellsville Mountains are situated northeast of the Great    regional moisture levels during the early to mid-1990s due to
Salt Lake, 16 km west of Logan, Utah. The single, traditional       an El Nino weather pattern, followed by the onset of severe
observation point is located at 2,617 m (8,585 ft) near the         and widespread drought throughout much of the interior West
northern end of the Wellsville range and provides a panoramic       between 1999 and at least 2004.
view in all directions.                                                 The only other significant, species-level regression was
    Heavy rain and snowfall hampered observations during the        a highly significant increasing trend for Peregrine Falcons,
2006 season more than usual, effectively precluding 15 days of      which is a common pattern across much of North America
potential observations over the course of the season. When          (Hoffman and Smith 2003). Three of 8 species with data
observations did occur, fair skies and light-to-moderate (as        suited to such comparisons showed below average immature
opposed to strong) winds predominated more than usual, the          : adult ratios in 2006, with significant differences indicated
temperature regime was about average for the site, and visibility   for Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks. For these two
was at an all time high. In other words, this season was one of     species, the low age ratios were due to below average numbers
contrasts: when the weather was bad it was consistently bad         of immature birds, suggesting that low productivity may have
enough to keep the observers off the ridge for full days at a       been a factor.
time, but when that was not the case, the weather and viewing           Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and Golden Eagles
conditions were optimal.                                            all showed significantly above-average age ratios in 2006 but
                                                                    for very different reasons. For Sharp-shinned Hawks, the
    The observers worked on 50 of 65 possible observation
                                                                    high age ratio was primarily due to a significantly higher than
days between August 28 and October 31. The number of
                                                                    average count of immature birds. In contrast, the Cooper’s
observation days was a significant 8% lower than the 1977–
                                                                    Hawk adult count was significantly below average, suggesting
2004 average of 54.
                                                                    low adult survival. For Golden Eagles, counts of both adults
                                                                    and non-adults were substantially below average in 2006, with
                                                                    a proportionately greater reduction in the adult count.

                                                                    Goshute Mountains, Nevada
                                                                    Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Hawkwatch International
                                                                        Observers in the Goshute Mountains in northeastern
                                                                    Nevada counted 10,822 migrant raptors of 17 species during
                                                                    the fall 2006 season. The count was a significant 27% below
                                                                    the 1983–2005 average, and the lowest recorded since 1993.
                                                                    No record low or high counts occurred in 2006; however, the
                                                                    counts of nine species were significantly below average, with
                                                                    many hovering near record lows.
                                                                        The 2006 flight was comprised of 50% accipiters, 34%
                                                                    buteos, 8% falcons, 3% vultures, 2% harriers, 2% eagles,
turkey Vulture kettle                    photo: JoSeph kennedy
                                                                    and <1% each of Ospreys and unidentified raptors. The

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                             
proportions of buteos, vultures, and harriers were significantly         Weather during the fall 2006 season was average to mild,
above average, but the proportions of accipiters, eagles, falcons,   with inclement weather hampering observations less than
and unidentified raptors were significantly below average. The       usual, fairly typical wind patterns but a bit lighter than usual,
most commonly observed species were the Red-tailed Hawk              and visibility reducing haze still prevalent on many days but
(32% of the total count), Sharp-shinned Hawk (25%), Coopers’         much less so than during many of the last several years. Counts
Hawk (24%), American Kestrel (8%), Turkey Vulture (3%), and          occurred on 82 of 83 days between August 15 and November
Northern Harrier (2%). No other species comprised more than          5, 2006.
2% of the total count. In the last five years the count of Red-          Adjusted passage rates were 10% or more below average
tailed Hawks has either closely matched (2002) or substantially      for 8 of 17 commonly observed species, with the differences
exceeded (2003–2006) the Sharp-shinned Hawk count, but               significant for Sharp-shinned, Swainson’s and Ferruginous
before this period that occurred only one other time—during          Hawks, Golden and Bald Eagles, and American Kestrels.
the first year of the count project in 1983. This reflects both      In contrast, adjusted passage rates were significantly above
a continuing, long-term increasing trend for red-tails and a         average for Broad-winged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and
sharp and continuing drop in the abundance of sharp-shins            Peregrine Falcons. For many species, adjusted passage rates
since 1998, coinciding with the recent widespread drought in         show a common pattern of stable to increasing trends through
the interior West.                                                   the mid-1990s followed by either stabilizing or more often
    The Goshute Mountains Raptor Migration Project in                declining patterns, especially after 1998 when widespread
northeastern Nevada is an ongoing effort to monitor long-            drought began plaguing much of the interior West. Several
term trends in populations of raptors using the Intermountain        species have shown at least slight rebounds in the past four
Flyway. HWI and its organizational precursors have been              years, including Northern Harriers, Cooper’s Hawks, Northern
studying the fall raptor migration in the Goshute Mountains          Goshawks and three larger falcons. However, low counts in
since 1980, when HWI founder Steve Hoffman and colleagues            2006 continued to accentuate the recent decline for Ospreys,
first began banding at the site. Standardized counts began in        Sharp-shinned Hawks, and American Kestrels.
1983 and have continued each year since. This is one of the
longest running standardized, raptor-migration monitoring            Grand Canyon (Yaki & Lipan Points), AZ
efforts in western North America, with the 2006 season               Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Hawkwatch International
marking the 27th consecutive season of banding and 24th
consecutive annual count at the site. Annual counts have                 Observers at the Grand Canyon sites of Yaki Point and
ranged between ~12,000–25,000 migrants of up to 18 species,          Lipan Point tallied a combined total of 7,735 migrant raptors
making this one of the largest concentrations in the western         of 16 species during the fall 2006 count, with 47% of the total
U.S. and Canada.                                                     recorded at Lipan Point and 53% at Yaki Point.
    The Goshute Mountains form a 100-km ridge that runs                  As usual, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, Red-tailed
north–south along the Utah–Nevada border. The study site is          Hawks and American Kestrels were by far the most abundant
located in the Goshute Wilderness Study Area approximately 40        species at both sites. Combined-site counts fell to record lows
km southwest of Wendover, Nevada, on land administered by            for Ospreys (70, second year in a row), Golden Eagles (6), and
the Elko Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management.              American Kestrels (692, second year in a row), and ranked as
                                                                     the second lowest for Cooper’s Hawks (1121). No record-high
                                                                     counts occurred in 2006.
                                                                         The total combined-site count was 25% below the 1997–
                                                                     2005 average. The three lowest counts recorded at Lipan Point
                                                                     since 1991 have occurred in the last three years, while the 2005
                                                                     and 2006 counts at Yaki Point ranked first and third lowest
                                                                     for that site since 1997. The 2006 Lipan Point count was 40%
                                                                     below the 1997–2005 average and 39% below the 1991–2005
                                                                     average for that site. The 2006 Yaki Point count was 17%
                                                                     below the 1997–2005 average. Before 2002, counts at Lipan
                                                                     Point had always exceeded those at Yaki Point, but a distinct
                                                                     shift in relative abundance at the two sites has occurred since
                                                                     simultaneous counts began in 1997. This was third time (the
                                                                     first in 2005) that the combined-site count was substantially
                                                                     below average, suggesting that the east-to-west flight line shift
                                                                     that has been developing since 1997 may have finally shifted
peregrine falcon                         photo: JoSeph kennedy
                                                                     farther west than either of the two count sites. Reasons for this

                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
pattern are yet uncertain, but may reflect some combination            Lipan Pt. and Lipan Pt are both located in Coconino County,
of increased fire prevalence in the past several years on the       Arizona, along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and are
Kaibab Plateau north of the canyon and shifting dynamics due        established canyon lookout sites for visitors to Grand Canyon
to the widespread drought that plagued much of the interior         National Park.. The migration over the Grand Canyon is unique
west after 1998.                                                    among HWI’s western sites because migrating raptors are not
   The combined-site flight was composed of 52% accipiters,         guided to the region by mountain ridges and must rely on
25% buteos, 10% falcons, and ~1% or less each of ospreys,           thermal lift rather than ridge updrafts to carry them over the
harriers, eagles, and unidentified raptors. The proportions of      broad North Kaibab Plateau toward the canyon.
accipiters and buteos were significantly above average, while the      Compared to the last nine seasons, 2006 featured relatively
proportions of falcons and Ospreys were significantly below         more transitional or mixed skies; moderate winds at Lipan
average. Yaki Point attracted proportionately more accipiters       Point and but lighter than usual winds at Yaki Point; a shift in
(60% vs. 50%), Lipan Point attracted more buteos (37% vs.           favor of more south to westerly and variable winds at Lipan
22%), and the relative abundance of all other species was           Point, but a shift in favor of north to southeasterly winds at
similar at the two sites.                                           Yaki Point; average to slightly above average temperatures;
   This is a typical pattern; however, in 2006, although the        and above-average thermal-lift conditions at both sites. In
proportional representation of falcons declined similarly           addition, contrasting markedly with last year but similar to
at both sites, the relative abundance of Ospreys was below          several previous years in the past several, visibility reducing
average only at Lipan Point. In addition, the relative abundance    haze from dust and smoke were more common than usual.
of accipiters shifted steadily from roughly 60% of the              Counts occurred at both sites on all 71 possible days between
combined-site total at Lipan Point in 1997/1998 to only 33%         August 27 and November 5, 2006.
in 2004, but then bounced back a bit in 2005 and again 2006
(42%). The typical compositional differences likely reflect
topographic variation around the two sites, which effect local
thermal production and therefore vary the attractiveness of
each site for soaring species. However, the shift in abundance
of accipiters at the two sites over the past 10 years suggests
that other factors are influencing the flight paths of migrating
accipiters across the canyon.
   The Grand Canyon Raptor Migration Project in Arizona is
an ongoing effort to monitor long-term trends in populations
of raptors using the southern portion of the Intermountain. To
date, observers have recorded 19 species of migratory raptors
at two count sites along the south rim of the canyon, with
combined counts ranging from ~6,100–12,300 migrants per
season. HawkWatch International (HWI) initiated standardized
counts of the autumn raptor migration through this region
at Lipan Point in 1991, and began standardized monitoring at
Yaki Point in 1997.

                                                                    Mixed kettle                            photo: JoSeph kennedy
Fall 2006 Western Flyway Raptor Totals

                    TV OS NH SS CH NG BW SH       RT FH RL GE BE AK ML PR PG GY Total*
bridger Mountains    2  7 50 344 182 33 12      0  89 3 21 859 74 38 15 22 15     1 1784
wellsville Mountains 3 18 97 750 312    8  2 58 296 3     0   20   1 328 18 13 7  0 1952
grand canyon         0 70 94 2782 1121 18 27 52 2202 8    1    6 33 692 11 13 25 0 7735
Manzano Mountains 150 30 90 958 865 10     9 4695 534 9   0   87   3 412 23 13 43 0 8119
commissary ridge 39 11 26 217 289 26       3 47 563 7     5 211 82 156 10 13 9    0 1841
goshute Mountains 355 68 177 2745 2741 95 57 109 3492 10 17 152    9 820 40 26 17 0 10822
South livingston     0 11 76 1247 220 154 10    2 283 1 141 4400 483 33 45 18 14  6 7217
*inc. unid’d

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                              
Manzano Mountains, New Mexico                                       however, more frequent cloud cover and fog/haze resulted in
Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Hawkwatch International             cooler than average temperatures but did not greatly reduce
                                                                    visibility. The observers worked on 68 of 71 possible days
    Observers at Manzano Mountains, New Mexico, counted 8,119       between August 27 and November 5.
migrant raptors of 16 species during the fall 2006 season. No
record low or high species-specific counts occurred in 2006.             Adjusted passage rates were significantly above average
                                                                    for three species—Northern Harriers, Broad-winged and
    The flight was comprised of 65% buteos, 24% accipiters,         Swainsons’Hawks—and were significantly below average for
6% falcons, 2% vultures, 1% eagles, 1% harriers, and ≤1%            11 species—Turkey Vulture, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s
each of Ospreys and unidentified raptors. This composition          Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous
includes a significantly above average proportion of buteos         Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Golden and Bald Eagles,
but significantly below average proportions of all other species    American Kestrel and Prairie Falcon.
groups except harriers. The group proportions amounted to
record lows for accipiters, falcons and vultures. In contrast,          Regression analyses indicated a significant trend for Turkey
the high proportion of buteos was due to an unusually high          Vultures, loosely tracking a strong increasing pattern through
count of Swainson’s Hawks. Swainson’s Hawks were atypically         1998, followed by a sharp three-year decline, a slight recovery,
the most abundant species, followed by Sharp-shinned Hawks,         and modest or declining numbers for the past four years. A
Cooper’s Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels and             similar pattern also applied to Northern Harriers, except that
Turkey Vultures.                                                    counts had remained low since crashing from a high peak in
                                                                    1998, then rebounded in 2006. A significant increasing trend
    The Manzano Mountains raptor migration study in central         was indicated for Ospreys, but more detailed examination
New Mexico is an ongoing monitoring effort for raptors using        shows an accelerating-increase pattern through 1995, followed
the southern portion of the Rocky Mountain migratory flyway.        by a moderate declining pattern since then except for a large
HawkWatch International (HWI) initiated standardized counts         spike in 2003.
of the autumn raptor migration through this region in 1985.
To date, HWI observers have recorded 18 species of migratory            Among the accipiters, the lowest adjusted passage rate to
raptors at the site, with counts typically ranging between 4,000    date in 2006 dampened a highly significant long-term increasing
and 7,000 migrants per season. The 2006 season marked the           pattern for Cooper’s Hawks. Among the buteos, significant
22nd consecutive count.                                             long-term increases were indicated for Broad-winged and
                                                                    Swainson’s Hawks, whiles a highly significant decrease
    The project site is located in the Manzano Wilderness Area      continued for Ferruginous Hawks. However, following a strong
of the Cibola National Forest (Manzano Ranger District)             slide between 1992 and 2000, the trajectory of Ferruginous
near Capilla Peak, approximately 56 km south-southeast of           Hawk passage rates is now once again showing a slight upward
Interstate 40. Many factors make the Manzano Lookout well           trend. A significant long-term trend emerged for Bald Eagles,
suited for observing consistent flights of migrating raptors        tracking a spike in 1994 and crash in 1996, followed by
during fall. Several mountain ranges to the north serve as          moderate passage rates thereafter.
leading lines, funneling raptors into the Manzanos. The
Manzano Mountains also are a relatively narrow and well-                Among the falcons, significant trends were indicated for
defined north–south range, which creates beneficial updrafts        Merlins and Prairie Falcons, tracking increasing patterns through
and serves as a distinct flight path for migrating raptors.         1998 and then sharp declines, with the Prairie Falcon decline
                                                                    continuing through 2006, and Merlins rebounding sharply in
    In 2006 inclement weather had relatively little impact on the   2005 but dropping again in 2006. A highly significant increasing
observer’s ability to conduct daily counts, and southwesterly       trend was indicated for Peregrine Falcons, but peregrine passage
winds predominated. Unlike the past four to five years,             rates have dropped each year since peaking in 2002.

                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                                                                                             I want to thank Ernesto Ruelas, former co-editor for this
Gulf/Caribbean                                                                           flyway, for giving me the opportunity to contribute with
Flyway Editor: Eileen Muller Guerra                                                      HMANA; it is my pleasure to be taking over as a compiler
Jacarandas 12, Fuentes de Las Animas                                                     of these data.
Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico 91190                                                               The 2006 season was one of the calmest to date; prevailing
emullerg@yahoo.com.mx                                                                    light winds and warmer temperatures showed a significant
                                                                                         shift from the typical pattern, since the fall season is often
                                                                                         characterized by more frequent and stronger north, north-
                                                                                         west winds and cooler temperatures. These weather conditions
                                                                                         prevailed throughout the region, but affected the three count
                                                  1                                      sites differently.
                                                                                             The most significant change was in Veracruz, Mexico, which
                                                 1. Smith Point TX                       recorded an overall combined-species count that was 21%
                                                 2. Corpus Christi TX
                                                 3. Cardel and Chichicaxtle (Veracruz)   below average and the lowest recorded since 1993. Noteworthy
                                                                                         low counts were reported for all three of the most abundant
                                                                                         species: Swainson’s Hawk (38% below average), Turkey Vulture
                                                                                         (22% below average) and Broad-winged Hawk (13% below
                                                                                         average). Nevertheless, Mississippi Kites produced a 38%
 1. Smith point, tx                                                                      higher than average count, and record or near record numbers
 2. corpus christi, tx                                                                   of Osprey, Northern Harriers, Hook-billed Kites, Harris’s and
 3. cardel and chichicaxtle (Veracruz)                                                   Red-tailed Hawks
                                                                                             In contrast, both Texas sites reported above average
                                                                                         numbers. The Broad-winged count at Corpus Christi was the
    The Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Flyway includes the states of                       fifth highest to date, while the cumulative total of all species
Florida (west of Lake Seminole and south to Apalachicola), Alabama,                      excluding Broad-winged Hawk was the second highest to date.
Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas in the United States, as well as Mexico,                This included record seasonal tallies for no less than 12 species,
Central America and the West Indies.                                                     the second highest count to date for Ferruginous Hawk, and
    Most migrants are diverted in their southbound flights by the Gulf                   the site’s third Aplomado Falcon. The overall count at Smith
of Mexico into two main routes, east into southern Florida and onto the                  Point was 13% above average, but when Broad-winged Hawks
West Indies, and west into southern Texas and eastern Mexico.                            are excluded, most species (except eagles) were well below
    Although this region has the highest species diversity, flights in these             average. All time high counts were established for Bald Eagles,
localities are dominated by Turkey Vultures, Broad-winged Hawks,                         Ospreys and Harris’s Hawks, whereas all time low counts were
Swainson’s Hawks and Mississippi Kites, with moderate numbers of                         reported for Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s, and Red-shouldered
accipiters and falcons and southern records of northern species. In middle               Hawks.
America, flights include records of several intra-tropical migrants such as
Hook-billed Kites, Common Black Hawks and Gray Hawks.
                                                                                         Site Accounts
    Flights along the Gulf/Caribbean region do not follow leading
lines such as mountain ridges. Geographic distribution of migration                      Smith Point,Texas
is largely modeled by diversion lines such as large bodies of water and                  From a report by Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Smith Point,
distribution of thermal convection, which provides abundant uplift for                   Texas.
energy-saving flights. Large flocks of soaring migrants are characteristic                  Counts were made from a 7-m tall tower at the Candy
of this region.                                                                          Abshier Wildlife Management Area, 50 km southeast of
    This is one of the least explored regions. Flights were reported                     Houston, Texas. Daily counts were done for 86 days between
sporadically by naturalists and ornithologists since the mid 100s, but                  August 15 and November 11, 2006, from 0800-1600 hrs (a total
were not explored in detail until more recently.                                         of 637.52 hrs of observation) (Smith and Neal 2006).
    Short-term (mostly) spring observations from this region were published
beginning in the 1980’s. And during the last 16 years, several long-term                 Corpus Christi,Texas
projects have been launched: Veracruz River of Raptors in Mexico
                                                                                         From s report submitted by Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal, Corpus
(11); Smith Point, Texas (1); Corpus Christi, Texas (1);
                                                                                         Christi, Texas.
Kekoldi, Costa Rica (2000), and more recently Rapaces de Oceano a
Oceano in Panama (200) and Suchitoto, Cuzcatlan, El Salvador                               Counts were made from Hazel Bazemore Park, 27 km
(200).                                                                                  west of Corpus Christi, Texas. Daily counts were made for 93

                                            Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                           
consecutive days between August 15 and November 15, 2006,            Swallow-tailed Kite
from 0800-1600 hrs (a total of 704.50 hrs of observation)               The seasonal coverage of all sites in this region starts late
(Smith and Neal 2006).                                               for timing of migration of this species, and the number of
                                                                     individuals recorded is relatively low. Both Texas sites show
Cardel and Chichicaxtle,Veracruz, Mexico                             similar long-term increasing patterns for this species. Veracruz
                                                                     had an all time record.
With data submitted by Eduardo Martinez Leyva to Hawkcount.org.
    Counts were made from two separate sites simultaneously          White-tailed Kite
(counts are reported combined for both sites), the newly built          The migratory status of this species remains unclear. Both
observatory at Chichicaxtle at the north edge of the soccer          Texas sites recorded the same number of individuals: for
field and atop Hotel Bienvenido in Cardel, for 93 consecutive        Corpus Christi it was an average number, but for Smith Point
days from August 20-November 20, 2006, from approximately            the eight individuals were 67% lower than last year’s count.
0800-1800 hrs (a total of 913 hrs of observation).                   Most White-tailed Kites are absent in Veracruz in the non-
                                                                     breeding season.

Species Accounts                                                     Mississippi Kite
   This report contains information on the movements of 28              Corpus Christi reported a new record high count, while
species of raptors and two species of vultures (Table 1).            Smith Point showed a slightly below average tally. According
                                                                     to Smith and Neal, both Texas sites show similar long-term
                                                                     increasing patterns. Veracruz recorded the highest count, which
Black Vulture                                                        was 38% above its annual average.
    The migration of this species is small scale in both Smith       Sharp-shinned Hawk
Point and Corpus Christi, with counts in the low to mid-                 Veracruz holds the region’s highest count, however it was
hundreds. Veracruz does not keep records of migrating Black          still below its 11-year average. Smith Point reported a record
Vultures, since it is difficult to keep track of individuals truly   low count. This species has shown a recent declining trend at
migrating and the ones performing local movements, although          Smith Point, while Corpus Christi reports an overall stable to
it is estimated that movements are of low scale as well. The         increasing pattern.
highest number recorded for the region was Corpus Christi.
                                                                     Cooper’s Hawk
Turkey Vulture
                                                                        Corpus Christi recorded an all-time high tally. Smith Point
    The bulk of migration for this species misses the two Texas      reported an all time low count; analysis by Smith and Neal
sites, however, both projects show similar long-term increasing      shows a recent declining of this species at this site. Veracruz
patterns. On the other hand, even though Veracruz reported           had the highest count for the region.
the highest count for the region, the number was 22% below
its 11-year average.                                                 Northern Goshawk
Osprey                                                                  Veracruz shows the highest count for the region. The two
                                                                     individuals at Corpus Christi were unusual since there are
   Both Texas sites recorded an all-time high tally for this         only two previous records at this site (one in 1999 and one
species. The region’s highest count was made in Veracruz;            in 2002).
good numbers were consistent during September, reaching a
peak flight of 219 individuals on the 26th.                          Gray Hawk
Northern Harrier                                                        This bird has not been recorded in migration for the Texas
                                                                     sites, although it is likely to be found there at the northern end
   Veracruz reported the highest count for the region with           of its range. The only site to record this species as a migrant
an amazing number of 750 birds. Corpus Christi also had a            in the region is Veracruz.
significantly above average total, highlighting a new record high
count of 614 individuals. By comparison, previous seasons’           Common Black Hawk
totals at both sites were reported in the low hundreds at both         The highest count was at Veracruz. This species has never
sites. On the other hand Smith Point had a significantly below       been reported for Smith Point and Corpus Christi shows just
average count, with only 385 birds.                                  one record (2002) in its nine-year history.
Hook-billed Kite                                                     Harris’ Hawk
   Veracruz was the only site to record this intra-tropical             All sites reported an all-time high for this species, with
migrant, with an above average of 201 individuals. Only one          Corpus Christi showing the region’s highest count. Peak flights
individual has been recorded in each of the Texas sites in the       occurred in October when 15 and 17 individuals were tallied
past (both in 2003).                                                 in Corpus Christi and Veracruz, respectively. This species

0                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
has been recorded in the mid twenties at Corpus Christi in
past seasons, on the other hand it is interesting to mention
that Veracruz has reported higher numbers over the last few
Red-shouldered Hawk
   This species is marginally recorded in the region, however,
both Veracruz and Corpus Christi sites reported an all time
high tally, whereas Smith Point showed its second lowest count
since 2002.
Broad-winged Hawk
   This is the most abundant migrant in the region. Although
Veracruz recorded the highest number among the three sites,
this tally was 13% below average. Corpus Christi reported a
non-significant 13% higher count than its 1997-2005 average.
                                                                                       creSted caracara photo: JoSeph kennedy
Smith Point recorded its third highest count on record
representing a 28% increase above its 9-year average.               Bald Eagle
Short-tailed Hawk                                                      This northern species marginally reaches the region during
                                                                    migration. Both Texas sites reported high counts, with a new
   This is a strictly sedentary species for Veracruz. The only
                                                                    record high for Corpus Christi.
site to report migrants was Corpus Christi.
                                                                    Crested Caracara
Swainson’s Hawk
                                                                       This species only exhibits migratory movements in the
   Both Texas sites have generally shown increasing patterns
                                                                    northern part of its range and it is sedentary throughout middle
for this species; the count at Smith Point was low in 2006, while
                                                                    America. This species is currently showing an overall stable
the count at Corpus Christi rebounded above average. The
                                                                    pattern at Corpus Christi and a strong increasing pattern at
highest number recorded for the region was from Veracruz,
                                                                    Smith Point.
however this was 38% below its 11-year average.
                                                                    American Kestrel
White-tailed Hawk
                                                                       Veracruz held the highest count for the region, including a
  Corpus Christi holds the highest count for the region. Both
                                                                    peak of 408 individuals on October 6. Corpus Christi reported
Texas sites have shown a recent increasing pattern. Veracruz
                                                                    a new record high for this species, whereas Smith Point
does not record this species as a migrant.
                                                                    recorded a slightly below average tally. Analyses conducted
Zone-tailed Hawk                                                    at both Texas sites report a slight increasing trend at Corpus
   This species showed significantly above average counts this      Christi and a stable flight pattern at Smith Point.
year. Corpus Christi keeps stable passage numbers. Smith Point      Merlin
has not recorded this species as a migrant.
                                                                      Veracruz had the highest count for the region. Corpus
Red-tailed Hawk                                                     Christi reported its second high count since 2003. The Smith
   This species is reported throughout the region in the low        point count was slightly below its 9-year average.
hundreds, however Veracruz showed a significantly above             Prairie Falcon
average count and Corpus Christi had a new record high tally.
                                                                      The only records for this falcon are from Corpus Christi,
The Smith Point count was 35% below its 9-year average.
                                                                    which showed a slightly above average count.
Ferruginous Hawk
                                                                    Peregrine Falcon
   This species is also marginally recorded in the region. The
                                                                       Veracruz held the highest count for the region. Analyses
only site to report this species was Corpus Christi with eight
                                                                    conducted for both Texas sites show similar long-term
records, which represents the second highest tally (last one
                                                                    increasing patterns for this falcon.
in 1999).
                                                                    Aplomado Falcon
Golden Eagle
                                                                       Highlight of this season included the third Aplomado
   This is another marginally recorded species in the region.
                                                                    Falcon at Corpus Christi, recorded on November 9 and
Corpus Christi and Veracruz had two records each, which
                                                                    again on November 13, which may suggest it had taken
represent a typical passage rate for both sites. Smith Point
                                                                    residency nearby. This is the only site to record this species
reported the sixth Golden Eagle at the site since 1997 (last
                                                                    as a migrant.
one in 2000).
                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                              1
Fall 2006 raptor counts in the Gulf/Caribbean Flyway
location                         Smith point,                     corpus christi,                 cardel & chichicaxtle,
                                  texas, uS                         texas, uS                       Veracruz, Mexico
black Vulture                         71                                 893                                 n/a
turkey Vulture                       1,002                             29,115                            1,394,159
osprey                                93                                 321                                2,889
northern harrier                      385                                614                                 750
hook-billed kite                       0                                   0                                 201
Swallow-tailed kite                   80                                  99                                 249
white-tailed kite                      8                                   8                                  0
Mississippi kite                     3,682                             14,073                             186,852
Sharp-shinned hawk                   1,295                              1,643                               2,084
cooper’s hawk                         305                               1,719                               2,314
northern goshawk                       0                                   2                                  4
gray hawk                             n/a                                 n/a                                882
common black hawk                     n/a                                  0                                  7
harris’ hawk                           4                                  39                                 23
red-shouldered hawk                   22                                 101                                 12
broad-winged hawk                   49,527                             767,730                           1,495,146
Short-tailed hawk                      0                                   2                                 n/a
Swainson’s hawk                       201                               7,225                             476,575
white-tailed hawk                      8                                  39                                 n/a
zone-tailed hawk                       0                                   7                                 267
red-tailed hawk                       88                                 363                                 393
ferruginous hawk                       0                                   8                                  0
golden eagle                           1                                   2                                  2
bald eagle                             7                                   5                                  0
crested caracara                       5                                  20                                 n/a
american kestrel                      916                               1,137                               3,588
Merlin                                51                                  50                                 139
prairie falcon                        n/a                                 10                                 n/a
peregrine falcon                      85                                 309                                 670
aplomado falcon                       n/a                                  1                                 n/a
Unidentified	raptors	                 18	                                523	                              42,129
SEASON TOTAL                       57,851                             826,058                           3,609,335

Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal of HawkWatch International and Eduardo Martinez Leyva of Pronatura Veracruz made available the data to
prepare this report.

2                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
                                                                            The four sites contributing to the fall 2006 raptor monitoring
                                                                        effort in the Pacific flyway are like islands in a stream. Each
                                                                        catches a different portion of the current. The environmental
                                                                        influences vary greatly. Given the normal fluctuations at each
                                                                        site, it takes decades of records before significant changes can
                                                                        be detected. Because there are so many variables, comparing
                                                                        records between islands is a dubious exercise. Changes have to
                                                                        take place at significantly large levels before we can consider
                                                                        the records together.
                                                                            Hawkwatch International sponsored the ninth fall study at
                                                                        Chelan Ridge and the thirteenth at Bonney Butte. Golden Gate
                                                                        Raptor Observatory conducted its twenty-second fall study.
 Pacific Flyway                                                         Harv Wilson conducted the second study at Lagoon Valley
                                                                        and decided that the site does not warrant ongoing monitoring.
 Flyway Editor:                                        1
                                                                        His process for reaching this conclusion is particularly valuable
 Fran McDermott                                                         and instructive to others investigating possible migration
                                                                        monitoring sites.
 franmcd@infinex.com                                   2

                                                                            Paul Jorgensen, one of the leaders of the spring count at
                                                                        Borrego Valley in southern California, has been tallying hawk
                                                   3                    movement in the fall. Preliminary observations suggest that
 1.   Chelan Ridge WA
                                               4                        there is a substantial migration of Swainson’s Hawks. 560
 2.   Bonney Butte OR                                                   Swainson’s Hawks passed through the Borrego Valley between
 3.   Lagoon Valley CA                                                  October 8 and November 2, with a high count of 300+ on
 4.   Golden Gate Raptor Observatory CA                                 October 8. As in the spring, the hawks roost, primarily in the
                                                                        nearby date farm, before moving on around 9 a.m. Jorgenson
                                                                        and Hal Cohen are considering a daily watch during October
The Pacific Continental Flyway consists of coastal Alaska and British   2007.
Columbia and the states of Washington, Oregon and California. For
hawkwatchers, the various mountain ranges and valleys present many
potential migration corridors that may take decades to investigate.     Chelan Ridge, Washington
Despite the long coastline, few water barriers exist. The Marin         From a report by Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal
Headlands area on the north side of San Francisco Bay os one notable
                                                                           The observers at Chelen Ridge in north-central Washington
exception, with significant hawk activity in the fall.
                                                                        counted 2,349 migrating raptors of 16 species during the
                                                                        2006 fall migration season, a non-significant 10% above the
                                                                        1998–2005 average. The count of Peregrine Falcons rose to a
                                                                        record high of 20 birds, but the American Kestrel count fell
                                                                        to a record low of 29 birds.
                                                                           The flight consisted of 54% accipiters, 19% buteos, 7%
                                                                        eagles, 5% harriers, 4% falcons, 2% vultures, 2% Ospreys, and
                                                                        2% unknown or other raptors. The proportions of falcons
                                                                        and unknown raptors were significantly below average, while
                                                                        the proportions of buteos and vultures were significantly
                                                                        above average. The most common species seen in 2006 were
                                                                        the Sharp-shinned Hawk (36% of the total count), Red-tailed
                                                                        Hawk (19%), Cooper’s Hawk (12%), Golden Eagle (7%), and
                                                                        Northern Harrier (5%). All other species each comprised less
                                                                        than 3% of the total count.
                                                                           The Chelan Ridge Raptor Migration Project in north-
                                                                        central Washington monitors raptors using this north
                                                                        Cascades migratory flyway. HawkWatch International (HWI),
                                                                        in partnership with the Okanogan and Wenatchee National
                                                                        Forests (OWNF), initiated standardized counts of the autumn
SwainSon’S hawk                            photo: JoSeph kennedy
                                                                        raptor migration here in 1997, with full-season counts starting
                                     Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                                 
Table1: Chelen Ridge, Washington, Fall 2006 Raptor Totals and comparisons with previous years
                                           Counts                        Raptors/100 hours
SPECIES                     1998–2005        2006 % Change         1998–2005       2006 % Change
turkey Vulture              31 ± 9.8          50        61        10.8 ± 5.53        14.8    38
osprey                      42 ± 11.5         50        19        15.1 ± 4.86        18.3    21
northern harrier           113 ± 27.9        127        13        33.4 ± 9.63        39.3    18
white-tailed kite           0.1 ± 0.2         0        -100             –             –
Sharp-shinned hawk         796 ± 162.6       854        7         257.1 ± 63.16      282.1   10
cooper’s hawk              212 ± 24.3        270        28        73.1 ± 10.93       95.1    30
northern goshawk            28 ± 9.2          31        10         7.3 ± 2.38         6.3    -14
unknown small accipiter2 35 ± 31.2            97       179              –             –
unknown large accipiter2     8 ± 5.5          11        41              –             –
unknown accipiter           96 ± 63.9         12       -88              –             –
total accipiters           1158 ± 216.9      1275       10              –             –
broad-winged hawk            5 ± 1.5          4        -26         4.7 ± 1.87         2.7    -43
Swainson’s hawk              7 ± 4.3          2        -71         5.3 ± 3.51         1.6    -70
red-tailed hawk            302 ± 61.8        441        46        88.9 ± 19.73       131.4   48
ferruginous hawk            0.1 ± 0.2         0        -100        0.2 ± 0.27         0.0    -100
rough-legged hawk           28 ± 11.5         28        0         19.7 ± 6.68        17.9     -9
Unidentified	buteo	         69	 ±	 29.8	      57	      -17	           	 	 –	           	      –	
total buteos               412 ± 98.5        532        29                  –                 –
golden eagle               127 ± 24.0        157        24        36.1 ± 6.99        44.1    22
bald eagle                   5 ± 3.3          8         56         1.6 ± 0.88         2.6    62
Unidentified	eagle	          3	 ±	 3.0	       0	       -100	          	 	 –	           	      –	
total eagles               135 ± 27.7        165        22                  –                 –
american kestrel            66 ± 18.0         29       -56        20.4 ± 6.65         9.6    -53
Merlin                      38 ± 8.1          34       -11        11.4 ± 3.20        11.1     -3
prairie falcon               8 ± 3.4          9         18         2.1 ± 0.76         3.1    49
peregrine falcon             6 ± 3.1          20       227         1.8 ± 0.71         5.6    216
unknown small falcon2        4 ± 1.7          3        -29                  –                 –
unknown large falcon2        2 ± 0.6          3         50                  –                 –
unknown falcon               3 ± 1.8          0        -100                 –                 –
total falcons              124 ± 22.5         98       -21                  –                 –
Unidentified	raptor	       124	 ±	 52.0	      52	      -58	           	 	 –	           	      –	
Grand Total             2139 ± 355.5         2349       10                  –                 –

                      Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
in 1998. To date, HWI observers have recorded 18 species           Bonney Butte, Oregon
of migratory diurnal raptors, with counts ranging between          From a report by Jeff P. Smith and Mike C. Neal
~1,500–2,900 migrants per season. The 2006 season was the
ninth consecutive, full-season count.                                 Between August 27 and October 31, the observers at
                                                                   Bonney Butte, Oregon, counted 2,656 migrant raptors of 15
   Chelan Ridge is located approximately 21 km north–              species, with the count a non-significant 9% below the 1994–
northwest of the village of Chelan on the Chelan County            2005 average. Counts dropped to record lows for Ospreys,
/ Okanogan County and Okanogan National Forest /                   Red-shouldered Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Golden Eagles,
Wenatchee National Forest borders. Two official or designated      and American Kestrels, while counts of Cooper’s Hawks,
observers, relieved or supplemented by the on-site educator        Northern Goshawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Prairie Falcons
and other trained staff and volunteers, conducted standardized     and Peregrine Falcons rose to record highs.
daily counts of migrating raptors from a single traditional
observation site.                                                     The 2006 flight was comprised of 58% accipiters, 22%
                                                                   buteos, 9% vultures, 4% eagles, 4% falcons, 2% Ospreys, 1%
   The fall 2006 count was shut down on October 26, one            harriers and <1% unidentified raptors. The season featured
day earlier than hoped for, due to expectations of heavy           significantly higher-than-average proportions of accipiters,
snowfall. During the count season, inclement weather halted        but significantly lower-than-average proportions of eagles
observations on two other days, which is fewer than the            and Ospreys. As usual, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks
1998–2005 average of three days. Weather statistics for the        were the two most abundant species, followed by Cooper’s
season suggest that reduced-visibility conditions were less        Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Merlins, Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles
associated with bouts of inclement weather in 2006 than usual      and Northern Goshawks. Cooper’s Hawks and Northern
and instead were due mostly to wildfire smoke and other haze-      Goshawks moved up the proportional ladder compared to
related factors. The proportion of days with visibility reducing   the long-term averages.
fog and haze in 2006 reached a record high (68% vs. 37%).
                                                                      The Bonney Butte Raptor Migration Project in the
    Nine years of full-season data is still too short a time       northern Cascade Mountains of Oregon is an ongoing effort
to attach much significance to documented trends, but              to monitor long-term trends in populations of raptors using
comparisons across species and with data from other longer-        the Cascade Mountains portion of the Pacific Coast Flyway.
term monitoring projects in the West are still instructive.        HawkWatch International (HWI) initiated standardized counts
Regression analyses of trends in adjusted passage rates between    of the autumn raptor migration at Bonney Butte in 1994. To
1998 and 2006 indicated marginally to highly significant linear    date, HWI observers have recorded 18 species of migratory
declining trends for Sharp-shinned Hawks, Broad-winged             raptors at the site, with counts typically ranging between 2,000
Hawks, and American Kestrels, while a significant linear           and 4,000 migrants per season. The 2006 season marked the
increasing trend was indicated for Peregrine Falcons.              thirteenth consecutive count.
   A marginally significant, trough-shaped quadratic trend            Bonney Butte is located approximately 9.5 km east-
was shown for Northern Harriers, tracking a declining pattern      southeast of Government Camp, on the east side of the White
between 1998 and 2003, but a recent upswing. Similar patterns      River drainage within the Mt. Hood National Forest, Hood
were evident for Turkey Vultures, Sharp-shinned Hawks and          River County, Oregon. The butte is the southern terminus of
Cooper’s Hawks. Both Ospreys and Red-tailed Hawks also             Surveyor’s Ridge, which originates near Hood River, Oregon,
showed distinct declining trends between 2000 and 2005, but        south of the Columbia River Gorge. The ridge extends
the 2006 counts rose again to at least moderately high levels.     southward for approximately 50 km and ends southeast of
   For more information and the full text of the technical         Mt. Hood.
report for this site, see www.hawkwatch.org.                           Compared to the past nine years, inclement weather
                                                                   severely restricted observations noticeably less often than
                                                                   usual in 2006. Fair skies prevailed substantially more often
                                                                   during active observation periods (especially compared to
                                                                   the past the years); visibility reducing fog and haze were less
                                                                   prevalent during active periods, and temperatures averaged
                                                                   warmer than usual, but scattered rain and snow showers
                                                                   also were more common than usual. Wind-speed conditions
                                                                   were similar to the past three years, involving primarily light
                                                                   winds, but reflected a slight shift to more moderate winds. In
                                                                   contrast, the prevailing wind directions were atypical, reflecting
                                                                   a substantial shift toward more easterly and northeasterly as
                                                                   opposed to westerly winds.

                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                               
     The season ended on October 31, three days later than the      that we will need to await additional years of data to clarify our
1994–2005 average. Observation days were a significant 15%          understanding of these complex regional dynamics.
above the 1994–2005 average.                                            The marked and continuing long-term decline of
    Adjusted passage rates were not significantly above average     American Kestrel passage rates at Bonney Butte is particularly
in 2006 for any species, but eight commonly encountered             conspicuous. Hoffman and Smith (2003) reported mixed
species showed significantly below average passage rates            trends for this species through 2001 across seven long-term
(Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Swainson’s          HWI monitoring sites in the West. Across HWI’s western
Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles and             network, kestrels have shown declining patterns at Bonney
American Kestrels). Regression analyses of adjusted passage         Butte since 1994, at Chelan Ridge in north-central Washington
rates through 2006 revealed a highly significant quadratic trend    since 1998, in the Bridger Mountains of southwest Montana
(accelerating increase) for Peregrine Falcons; highly significant   since 1998, in the Wellsville Mountains of northern Utah since
linear decreasing trends for adult Golden Eagles and American       1994, in the Goshute Mountains of northeastern Nevada since
Kestrels; a significant linear decreasing trend for non-adult       1997, and in the Grand Canyon of northern Arizona since
Golden Eagles; and no significant trends for other species.         1991 (see www.hawkwatch.org for relevant technical reports).
    For several species, high passage rates in both 2003 and        In contrast, kestrel passage rates have remained relatively stable
2004 sharply reversed patterns of decline that had set in           in the southern Rocky Mountains of northern and central New
between 1998 and 2001/2002 that coincides with the onset            Mexico since 1985, and counts at HWI’s newest migration site
of widespread drought throughout much of the interior West.         in southwest Wyoming increased steadily from 2002–2004
For most such species, and others, passage rates dropped back       then dropped back to a moderate levels in 2005 and 2006.
down again in 2006, often to below average levels. Northern         These data suggest that, outside of the central and southern
Harriers, Northern Goshawks and Peregrine Falcons are               Rocky Mountains, many western kestrel populations may be
notable exceptions, with each showing increases each year           in decline, especially since widespread drought began plaguing
since 2001.                                                         much of the interior West in the late 1990s.
    In last year’s report, HWI speculated that the high counts of       Among eight species for which reasonable age-specific
many species at Bonney Butte in 2003 and 2004 might indicate        comparisons were possible, Sharp-shinned Hawks and Golden
a route shift among migrants that typically travel along the        Eagles showed significantly above-average immature: adult
Intermountain Flyway. After three years of severe drought,          ratios in 2006, while four other species showed at least slightly
counts in the Goshute Mountains of Nevada in the heart of           below-average age ratios. Sharp-shinned Hawks showed slightly
the Great Basin plummeted in 2002 from ~20,000 to ~12,000           above average counts of identified immature birds and slightly
migrants per season, coinciding with near-record high counts        below average counts of adults, while Golden Eagles showed
beginning at Bonney Butte in 2003 and 2004, at the same time        a drastically reduced adult count. In both cases, the high 2006
that counts in the northern Cascades of Washington remained         age ratios appear to reflect primarily low counts of identified
low. HWI suspected that a logical diversion path for migrants       adults. Nevertheless, given the below-average overall count
moving south through eastern Washington and northern Idaho          for Sharp-shinned Hawks, the slightly above average count of
to avoid the parched Great Basin would be to veer west through      immature birds suggests that productivity among northwestern
the Blue and Wallowa Mountains and over to the Cascades with        source populations was probably at least average in 2006, while
Mt. Hood as a navigation target. This would result in those         a low count of adult birds suggests that either adult mortality
migrants intersecting the Cascades just north of Bonney Butte,      was high during 2006 for some unknown reason or many adults
and might explain the high counts at Bonney Butte despite low       substantially altered their migration behavior in 2006 so they
counts farther north in the Washington Cascades.                    did not pass by Bonney Butte in typical numbers.
    Until 2006, counts at Idaho Bird Observatory’s site                 Age ratios were significantly below average for Northern
near Boise remained high while the counts dropped in the            Harriers and Northern Goshawks. In both cases, this was
Goshutes several hundred kilometers farther south, again            due to both absolute and relative (to numbers of immatures)
suggesting the possibility that some migrants diverted west         increases in the numbers of identified adult birds, which may
out of Idaho before passing down through the heart of the           reflect increased adult survivorship for these species.
Great Basin. Winter/spring moisture levels began to recover             The 2006 combined-species median passage date of
in the northern Great Basin in 2004, while drought intensified      October 1 was slightly later than the long-term average for
in 2005 in the northern Cascades. It is possible that the 2005      the site of 30 September 30. The seasonal distribution of
and 2006 drop in the Bonney Butte count signaled a shift back       activity was somewhat unusual. Relative flight volume was
towards the Great Basin. However, the counts at Boise Ridge         significantly below average in early September, corresponding
and the Goshutes were well below average in 2006, while the         to the brief spate of inclement weather that allowed for only
count at Chelan Ridge in the northern Cascades recovered            8 hours of observation from September 14-16, and in mid
substantially compared to the past several years, so it appears     October, corresponding to the first prolonged rain/snow event
                            Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
Table 2: Bonney Butte, Oregon, Fall 2006 Raptor Totals and comparisons with previous years
                                        Count                              Raptors / 100 hours
Species                       1994–2005  2006        % Change        1994–2005     2006 % Change
turkey Vulture               302 ± 74.6       232        -23        132.8 ± 31.85   87.8      -34
osprey                        67 ± 11.8       38         -43         25.1 ± 4.67    11.3      -55
northern harrier              30 ± 7.8        33          9           9.6 ± 2.28     7.5      -22
Sharp-shinned hawk          1120 ± 205.0     1015        -9         409.2 ± 72.02   296.0     -28
cooper’s hawk                342 ± 51.9       418        22         123.3 ± 23.67   117.2      -5
northern goshawk              26 ± 6.1        40         52           8.7 ± 2.18    10.4      20
unknown small accipiter2      17 ± 11.5        7         -59              –          –         –
unknown large accipiter2       3 ± 4.7         2         -41              –          –         –
unknown accipiter             70 ± 30.1       60         -14              –          –         –
total accipiters            1566 ± 249.1     1542        -2               –          –         –
red-shouldered hawk            1 ± 1.2         0        -100          0.5 ± 0.47     0.0     -100
broad-winged hawk              8 ± 12.0        1         -88          5.2 ± 6.90     0.7      -87
Swainson’s hawk                1 ± 0.4         0        -100          0.3 ± 0.25     0.0     -100
red-tailed hawk              609 ± 84.0       531        -13        197.6 ± 30.07   129.4     -35
ferruginous hawk               1 ± 0.3         0        -100          0.1 ± 0.09     0.0     -100
rough-legged hawk             13 ± 4.5        27        108           9.7 ± 3.55    11.0      14
Unidentified	buteo	           31	 ±	 9.4	     30	        -2	    	       	 –	 	       –	        –
total buteos                 664 ± 98.3       589        -11              –          –         –
golden eagle                  95 ± 18.7       56         -41         33.1 ± 6.15    14.8      -55
bald eagle                    47 ± 6.5        44         -7          14.9 ± 1.93     9.9      -33
Unidentified	eagle	            3	 ±	 1.6	      1	        -68	   	       	 –	 	       –	        –
total eagles                 146 ± 19.2       101        -31              –          –         –
american kestrel              22 ± 4.0        17         -21          7.0 ± 1.75     4.4      -37
Merlin                        67 ± 14.6       69          3          26.6 ± 6.22    20.7      -22
prairie falcon                 5 ± 1.7         7         50           1.8 ± 0.57     2.2      26
peregrine falcon               7 ± 2.9        10         52           2.2 ± 1.17     2.8      25
unknown small falcon2          1 ± 0.7         0        -100              –          –         –
unknown large falcon2          2 ± 3.9         1         -50              –          –         –
unknown falcon                 3 ± 1.5         1         -68              –          –         –
total falcons                104 ± 16.9       105         1               –          –         –
Unidentified	Raptor	          26	 ±	 14.0	    16	        -38	   	       	 –	 	       –	        –
All Species                2904 ± 402.1      2656        -9               –          –         –

                           Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                   
that shut down observations for nearly 4 days. In contrast,          tracked and communicated to members of the team whose
relative flight volume was significantly above average during        quadrant it enters next. This continues until the bird disappears
late September and the second week of October when the               from sight. The dayleader coordinates the overall running of
weather was generally more cooperative.                              the system. The sampling period on each day is from 0930 to
   At the species level, Ospreys, Cooper’s Hawks, Northern           1530, unless rain or fog prevents viewing.
Goshawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels, and                     The average raptor per hour rate was 68.9. The peak count
Prairie Falcons showed significantly later than average median       day was October 7, with 871 raptor sightings. This day also
passage dates in 2006, while Sharp-shinned Hawks and Golden          saw the season’s peak diversity: 15 species, which included
Eagles showed significantly early timing. There were, however,       three Golden Eagles.
no distinct multi-species patterns of variation in seasonal              Seventeen species counts were higher than the 10-year
timing. Age-specific median dates added complexity to the            average, and two species counts were lower. One species that
picture, but again revealed no distinct multi-species patterns.      had a notably high count was the Rough-legged Hawk. The
   For more information and the full text of the technical           two species that showed numbers lower than the 10-year
report for this site, see www.hawkwatch.org.                         average were the Northern Goshawk and the Bald Eagle.
                                                                     Neither of these raptors is common at Hawk Hill; the former
                                                                     is particularly rare.
Golden Gate Raptor Observatory                                           Turkey Vultures sightings were up this year compared to
(GGRO)                                                               2005, and they were above the 10-year average as well. The
Report prepared by Rich Seymour                                      Osprey count was slightly lower than usual for the season but
    The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory conducted its                 remained above the 10-year average. White-tailed Kites were
twenty-second field season in 2006, observing more than              seen in good numbers, almost doubling last year’s count and
30,000 raptors, banding 2,176 of them, and radio-tracking one        the current average. Northern Harriers, which were noted
juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. The overall count was up from last         for low numbers last year, were back up in numbers this year.
year’s total, and was also above the current 10-year average         Eagle sightings diverged again this year, but in a reverse pattern
at the site (29,144). The season provided many interesting           from last year: the more commonly seen Golden Eagle was
sightings, with the final count hitting 33,968 raptors. The          up in numbers, and there was a slight decrease in Bald Eagles.
number of observing hours was 493, with the current 10-year          As noted above, three of the Golden Eagles were seen on the
average being 494.5.                                                 same day, adding to an already special day on Hawk Hill.
    The GGRO Hawkwatch takes place on the southern end of                Hawk Hill’s two most common accipiters, the Sharp-shinned
the Marin County peninsula, immediately north of the Golden          Hawk and the Cooper’s Hawk, were both up in observations
Gate Bridge. The headland is open, with mostly shrub cover,          this season -- the latter in record numbers. These birds typically
and is five miles wide. To the north the peninsula widens to 25      make a strong showing during the months of September and
miles across at a distance of 20 miles, so the GGRO benefits         October. Unfortunately, in 2006 the GGRO Hawkwatch teams
from a funneling effect with birds that are flying south. The        were not treated to any visits by a Northern Goshawk, as was
prevailing winds are from the northwest. The site’s elevation        the case last year. Among the buteos, the count for the Red-
is 975 feet and sits on one of two hills with a saddle between       tailed Hawk brought a positive change from last year’s low
them. The east-west ridgeline drops dramatically to sea level        total number. Red-tailed Hawks at this site are typically seen
on all sides, providing for panoramic views of San Francisco         in a bi-modal pattern, arriving in one wave during September
Bay. The site’s proximity to the water produces frequent fog         and October, then in a second group during November. In
banks in the fall. This can create various visibility levels- with   2005 the second wave was smaller than usual, and interestingly,
fog covering the entire area, limiting to certain quadrants, or      juvenile Red-tailed Hawks made up only 31% of it. This year
lying low over all quadrants but leaving the sky above clear.        Red-tailed Hawks were recorded in more typical numbers both
                                                                     early and late in the season. Juveniles made up 60% of the
    The volunteer hawkwatchers of the GGRO are divided into
                                                                     season’s count, up from last season’s 50%, which was the lowest
14 teams, each assigned one shift every two weeks. The count
                                                                     number ever since ages were recorded. Some considerations
is done using a quadrant system, in which the observing area is
                                                                     after last year were possible lower production of offspring,
divided into four sections that extend out from a central point
                                                                     or migratory routes other than the Golden Gate. Swainson’s
and meet overhead. Every quadrant is staffed by one or more
                                                                     Hawks were up slightly from last year and the 10-year average,
hawkwatchers who call in sightings to a recorder stationed at
                                                                     while Ferruginous Hawks were lower compared to 2005 but
the center of the four quadrants. The team members rotate
                                                                     higher than the average. GGRO hawkwatchers saw a nice
through the quadrants over the course of the day on the hour,
                                                                     rebound in numbers of Red-shouldered Hawks this season,
as this allows busy and quiet areas to be shared. After a raptor
                                                                     with the count substantially higher than 2005 and the 10-year
is seen in one quadrant, it is called in to the recorder, and then
                                                                     average. The Rough-legged Hawk was also up in numbers this
                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
season, with a double-digit count that put it well above 2005          The total count (33,968 raptors) was the third highest in
and the 10-year average.                                            two decades. Two species flew in record numbers, and GGRO
   The 2006 season was a good one for watching falcons; all         volunteers banded more than 2,000 raptors for the first time
of the four species were up from the 10-year average, and           ever. Hawkwatchers enjoyed the appearance of a Spotted Owl
Merlins flew in record numbers. Only the American Kestrel           in one of Hawk Hill’s trees.
was down in numbers (slightly) from last year.                         For information, call GGRO at (415) 331-0730, e-mail
                                                                    ggro@parksconservancy.org, or see www.ggro.org.

Table 3: Golden Gate Raptor Observatory Fall 2006 Raptor Totals
         and comparison with previous years
Species                       10-Year Average                    2006
                                 1996-2005                  Raptor Sightings                      Percent Change
turkey Vulture                        9164                          9212                                  0.52%
osprey                                 102                           108                                  5.88%
white-tailed kite                       76                           130                                 71.05%
bald eagle                               4                            2                                  -50.00%
northern harrier                       815                          1,090                                 33.74%
Sharp-shinned hawk                    4,134                         5,250                                 27.00%
cooper’s hawk                         2,388                         3,370                                 41.12%
northern goshawk                         1                            0                                 -100.00%
red-shouldered hawk                    380                           613                                  61.32%
broad-winged hawk                      116                           183                                  57.76%
Swainson’s hawk                          4                             7                                  75.00%
red-tailed hawk                       9,340                        11,411                                 22.17%
ferruginous hawk                        23                            25                                   8.70%
rough-legged hawk                        7                            21                                 200.00%
golden eagle                            20                            24                                  20.00%
american kestrel                       593                           612                                   3.20%
Merlin                                 157                           230                                  46.50%
peregrine falcon                       149                           237                                  59.06%
prairie falcon                           5                             8                                  60.00%
unid                                  1,670                         1,435                                -14.07%
Total                                29,144                        33,968                                16.55%

Lagoon Valley, California                                           monitoring (Lewis and Gould 2000). If this is not the case,
Report prepared by Harvey Wilson (harvmon@comcast.net)              then counts for species of special conservation concern, such
                                                                    as Peregrine Falcons or Golden Eagles should be large enough
    This was the second full season of raptor monitoring and        to justify long-term population monitoring.
site evaluation at Lagoon Valley. The purpose of this project
is to determine if Lagoon Valley is a satisfactory long-term            Lagoon Valley County Park is located 45 miles northeast
fall migration monitoring site. The following criteria were used    of San Francisco on the outskirts of Vacaville, California at
to evaluate the site:                                               the western edge of the Central Valley. Less than a mile to the
                                                                    west are the 2000 ft Vaca Mountains, which are part of the
    •The site should have a raptor species mix that is              long leading line that defines the western side of the Central
representative of this portion of the Pacific Flyway.               Valley. Immediately to the north and east is the Central Valley.
    •The counts for common raptor species should be                 About three miles to the south is a large gap in the mountains,
large enough to adequately support long-term population             formed by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin
                                  Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                              
rivers, and the Suisun Bay. The site consists of a ring of low,   a minimum of once every 10 minutes. Raptor counts and
grassy hills surrounding a small lake. The north-south length     weather statistics were recorded in accordance with HMANA
of the valley is about 2.5 miles. From August through mid-        guidelines.
October, heating of the Central Valley during the day creates         Species mix was evaluated by comparing it to a nearby
an east-west pressure gradient that causes southwest winds to     long-term monitoring site. The closest monitoring site is the
blow from San Francisco Bay. During this period, migrating        Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO), about 45 miles
raptors concentrate over the hills at the south end of Lagoon     to the southwest. Species mix has two components: 1) what
Valley.                                                           species were observed; and 2) a ranking of observed species
   From mid-October through December, north-south                 based on the number seen.
pressure gradients caused by weather passing through southern        The species mix comparison was done as follows:
Oregon create north and northeast winds. During this period,
                                                                     A. The GGRO 1995-2004 ten-year average species count
migrating raptors concentrate over the hills on the north end
                                                                  was placed in rank order. The raptor species with the lowest
of Lagoon Valley.
                                                                  average count was ranked 1; the raptor species with the next
   In fall 2006, a total of 9045 sightings were recorded during   highest average count was ranked 2, and so on.
144 hours. The count included 16 species.
                                                                     B. The GGRO 1996-2005 ten-year average species count
                                                                  was placed in rank order.
                                                                     C. The following one-year species counts were placed in
Table 4: Lagoon Valley Fall 2006 Raptor Totals                    rank order: GGRO 2005, GGRO 2006, Lagoon Valley 2005,
and comparison with prior year                                    and Lagoon Valley 2006.
                   2006 2005 2006                       2005         D. The one-year species counts were then compared
Species            Count Count RPH                      RPH       to the corresponding GGRO ten-year average count using
turkey Vulture      6574  2512  45.65                   27.60     Spearman Rank Correlation. The correlations are shown in
osprey                6     1    0.04                    0.01     the following table:
white tailed kite    23    14    0.16                    0.15
                                                                                     ggro 1995-2004 ggro 1996-2005
northern harrier     107   37    0.74                    0.41     one-year counts average counts average counts
Sharp-shinned hawk   72    22    0.50                    0.24     ggro 2005             + 0.978
cooper’s hawk        26     8    0.18                    0.09     lagoon Valley 2005    + 0.799
red-shouldered hawk 10      2    0.07                    0.02     ggro 2006                            + 0.994
broad-winged hawk     2     8    0.01                    0.09     lagoon Valley 2006                   + 0.785
Swainson’s hawk       1     1    0.01                    0.01         The Spearman Rank Correlation (SRC) compares the
red-tailed hawk     1276  1039   8.86                   11.42     relatedness of two ranked sets of data. Here, the SRC is used
ferruginous hawk      2     4    0.01                    0.04     primarily to compare the long-term, average species mix at
                                                                  GGRO to the species mix at Lagoon Valley. Both sites are
rough-legged hawk     1     0    0.01                    0.00
                                                                  sampling the fall raptor migration near the western edge of the
golden eagle         44    19    0.31                    0.21     Pacific Flyway. The goal is to use the GGRO ranked species
american kestrel     162   57    1.13                    0.63     mix as a basis for determining if the Lagoon Valley species mix
Merlin                0     4    0.00                    0.04     is representative of the average fall raptor migration.
peregrine falcon      8     4    0.06                    0.04         The SRC returns a value between -1.0 and +1.0. A
prairie falcon        5     2    0.03                    0.02     correlation of -1.0 indicates the two ranked lists are perfectly
Unidentified	        726	 1212	 5.04	                   13.32     inverse-ranked, for example 1,2,3 and 3,2,1. A correlation
Total Sightings    9045 4946 62.81                      54.35     of +1.0 indicates the lists are perfectly concordant, for
                                                                  example 1,2,3 and 1,2,3. A correlation of 0.0 means there
   In both 2006 and 2005, the site was staffed by one observer,   is no relationship between the rankings in the two lists. The
the same in both years. In 2006, watches were conducted two       correlations in the table show that the species mix at Lagoon
days per week between August 14 and December 6. In 2005,          Valley for both 2005 and 2006 is strongly correlated to the
watches were conducted one day per week between September         GGRO species mix. The .01 level of significance for all the
11 and November 25.                                               comparisons is a correlation of 0.625 (n = 19). Using GGRO
   On all watch-days, the observer used a modified version of     long-term average species mix as a reference, the species mix
the sector scanning method developed by the Golden Gate           at Lagoon Valley for 2005 and 2006 meets the criterion of
Raptor Observatory. He divided the view-shed into north           being a representative or usual sample of this portion of the
and south sectors. Each sector was scanned methodically           Pacific Flyway.

0                           Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
   An inspection of the fall species counts at several sites in the       Fall Migration Monitoring. Lagoon Valley has a typical
West shows that the species with the largest counts are Turkey        raptor species mix as well as adequate volumes of several
Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s                species. However, the site does not have an adequate volume
Hawk, and American Kestrel. The average raptor-per-hour               of accipiters when compared to other sites in the West.
(RPH) range for these species from several long-term western          This shortfall is not offset by significant volumes of species
sites is compared to Lagoon Valley in the following table.            of special concern. For this reason, developing Lagoon
Ten-year averages were used where available. For sites without        Valley as a long-term fall migration monitoring site is not
published 10-year averages, 3-year averages were computed.            recommended.
                                                                         Spring Migration Studies. Little is known about spring
                     average rph          lagoon   lagoon             raptor migration in the Central Valley. Lagoon Valley or the
                         range at           Valley   Valley           ridge-top of the nearby Vaca Mountains may be good sites to
Species               other Sites       2006 rph 2005 rph             investigate spring raptor migration.
turkey Vulture           0.51-15.99           45.65         27.60        Migration Transect Studies. Lagoon Valley would be
                                                                      a good location to include in short-term migration transect
red-tailed hawk          1.97-17.59            8.86         11.42
                                                                      studies. For example, a transect including GGRO, several
Sharp-shinned hawk        2.59-7.56            0.50          0.24     intervening sites, and Lagoon Valley could be used to study
cooper’s hawk             1.23-4.65            0.18          0.09     the characteristics of raptor migration between the coast near
                                                                      San Francisco and the Central Valley.
american kestre           l0.08-2.68           1.13          0.63
                                                                         Turkey Vulture Studies. Compared to other sites in the
   The volume of Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels               West, Lagoon Valley has unusually high Turkey Vulture counts
at Lagoon Valley is comparable to the average volumes at              (2006 RPH = 45.65). In addition, the area around Lagoon
other long-term sites in the West, and the volume of Turkey           Valley does not appear to have a large wintering population
Vultures is higher than the average at others sites. However,         of Turkey Vultures. As such, Lagoon Valley would likely be an
the volume of Sharp-shinned Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks is               excellent site for monitoring Turkey Vulture migration.
much lower. Using the middle of the average RPH range for                Radar Studies. About 20 miles northeast of Lagoon Valley
the other sites, the Lagoon Valley 2006 RPH for Sharp-shinned         is a National Weather Service Doppler radar site (KDAX).
Hawks is only 10% that of the other sites. The 2006 RPH for           The close proximity of the radar makes Lagoon Valley an
Cooper’s Hawks is only 6% that of the other sites.                    excellent location for ground-truthing large movements of
   It is possible that large spikes in accipiter passage at Lagoon    birds observed on radar. This includes large kettles of raptors,
Valley were missed since observations were conducted only one         Turkey Vultures, ducks, geese, gulls, pelicans and passerines.
or two days a week. However, over two seasons it is unlikely
that at least one spike would not be observed. In fact, accipiter
counts were low, typically 5 to 10 per day throughout the peak
accipiter migration period in both seasons. When counts are
low for a species, slight changes in the number observed
between seasons can have a large effect on the coefficient
of variance. In turn, this significantly reduces the power to
detect long-term population trends for the species and thus
can greatly increase the number of years required to do so.
At present, 10 to 15 years are frequently required to detect
these trends at sites with good species volumes. Lagoon Valley
does not have a large enough volume of either Sharp-shinned
Hawks or Cooper’s Hawks to provide an acceptable ability to
detect long-term population trends for these two common
raptor species.
   In addition, the RPH for species of special concern such
as Golden Eagles (2006 RPH = 0.31) and Peregrine Falcons
(2006 RPH = .06) is not large enough to justify developing
Lagoon Valley as a long-term monitoring site solely for these
species. For these reasons, Lagoon Valley does not meet the
criterion of having a large enough volume of common raptor
species or species of special conservation interest to warrant
                                                                      white-tailed kite                       photo: JoSeph kennedy
establishing long-term raptor migration monitoring.
                                   Hawk Migration Studies — Fall 2006 Season Summary                                               1
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2                             Hawk Migration Studies — Vol. XXXIII, No 1. September 2007
red-Shouldered hawk                            golden eagle

                                           northern harrier
                      all photoS on thiS page by JoSeph kennedy
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