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Friday, September 11, 2009

Hawk Migration forecast

Broad-winged Hawk, adult. The broad black-and-white bands on the tail help ID it.

A "kettle" (rising group) of Broad-winged Hawks with a few Turkey Vultures

Broad-winged Hawk, juvenile has thinner tail bands.

Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory lookout

We closely monitor the weather to see when we think the hawks will move and the big hawk migration will occur here in New England. There's a gale off the coast of New Jersey and heavy rain is coming into New England today. Clearing will occur on Sunday afternoon with a high pressure system occurring over much of the Northeast. Forecast is,

Sunday, clearing in afternoon, high 70, winds NW 5-10 mph
Monday, mostly sunny, high 74, low 54, winds 5-10 mph gusts of 20 mph
Tuesday, partly cloudy, high 70, winds nw 10-15 mph, gusts to 25 mph

So we think hawks will move from Sunday through Tuesday. There could be a big push Sunday into Monday. The majority of the hawks that pass inland are Broad-winged Hawks who use rising thermals of warm air, gliding up on them, then tucking their wings and riding to the next thermal. It's an energy efficient (because they do not have to flap as much), way to make their long migration out of North America and into Central and South America. Broadwings migrate in the biggest flocks, most other hawks migrate in smaller flocks, or singly. Broadwings wait for favorable conditions, including northerly winds and thermals. So the conditions look good although the gusty winds on Monday and Tuesday could blow apart the thermals, not a good thing from a Broadwings point of view. But we will see.
Even if you don't make it up to Pack Monadnock, or any of the other hawkwatching sites in New England, look up in the sky during the next few days, you may see some Broad-winged Hawks.

1 comment:

Patrick O'Donnell said...

Nice hawk photos. There is something very special about watching migrating raptors. Miss. Kites have been passing through the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica and the huge masses of Broadwings and Swainson's Hawks on their way to South America will be here soon. I can't wait to see that!