Hawk watchers l. to r., Henry (official counter), Tom, Katrina, Don, Lillian, Rod, David, Lily, Janet. In front, Ken, Francie
On Sunday, 9/18/11 we, and many others, were at Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, run by NH Audubon, to witness their historic, record-setting, hawk migration flight. We had 5,290 raptors migrate over our heads, almost all of them Broad-winged Hawks. This made the season's total of migrating hawks, so far, to over 10,000 raptors, thus hence the sign and happy faces. It was awesome!
Broad-winged Hawks migrate in groups, riding thermals of warm air, then gliding to the next thermal, as a way of conserving energy on their long journey to their wintering areas in Central and South America.
A rising group of Broadwings is called a "kettle". One of the kettles we saw contained over 1,000 hawks.
The hawks peel off at the top of the kettle and ride to the next one. At one point we all stood in awed silence as many hundreds glided right over our heads, just filling the sky. It was such a powerful and emotional sight, of all those hawks, driven by instinct, going together on their perilous migration journey.
We have been watching migrating hawks each fall for over 30 years. It's a wonderful addiction, which, as someone on the mountain said, "there is no cure".