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Monday, September 10, 2007

Think Hawk-watching!

Broad-winged Hawk

A "kettle" of migrating Broad-winged Hawks. The larger birds are Turkey Vultures.

Hawk-watching season is now starting. We're closely watching the weather and will drop everything and go birding to watch migrating hawks soon, when we think they're most likely to move. Then you'll see a "gone hawk watching" sign on our blog.

The big excitement is, we're hoping to see large numbers of Broad-winged Hawks who traditionally migrate in mid-Sept., usually between Sept. 11- 25th, in the northen part of the eastern half of the country, from the Midwest to New England. Broadwings migrate in big groups by rising up on thermals with wings spread — we call this a "kettle" of hawks. The Broadwings then tuck their wings when they're at the top of a thermal and "peel off"— glide down to the next thermal. It's sort of like getting elevator rides and an energy efficient means of moving to their distant wintering grounds. Many other hawks migrate during this time also, but not in the large groups and big numbers of Broadwings.

Broadwings eat mainly amphibians and reptiles so, when the weather turns colder and their food source disappears, the Broadwings head out of here for warmer climates. They actually migrate all the way down the U.S., to Central America and South America, their wintering areas.

Birders will be at all the major hawk-watching sites in the eastern half of the country, from Hawk Ridge, Duluth, MN, to Cape May, NJ, to watch the Broadwings and other hawks migrate.

We'll take you hawk-watching with us at our site, Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory, in southern NH, during the next week.

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