Science

Major Watchsites

Asia, Middle East

BE'ER SHEVA

LOCATION: ISRAEL; Central Israel 95 km south of Tel Aviv.

DESCRIPTION: A lowland watchsite in the west Negev Desert.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring(Feb-May) and autumn(Sept-Oct).

COUNTS: Close to 100,000 migrants reported annually.

THREATS: Unknown.

SPECIES: 29 species appear to be regular migrants.

TOP SPECIES:  data from fall of 1984. 

  • Pernis apivorus         European Honey Buzzard       38,730
  • Accipiter brevipes      Levant Sparrowhawk               1,678
  • Aquila pomarina        Lesser Spotted Eagle                  443
OTHER SPECIES:Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Milvus migrans: Black Kite; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo buteo: Common Buzzard; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco eleonorae: Eleonora's Falcon; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco biarmicus: Lanner Falcon; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

BET-SHEMESH

LOCATION: ISRAEL; 45 km southeast of Tel Aviv.

DESCRIPTION: A mountainside watchsite on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Feb-May) and autumn (Aug-Oct).

COUNTS: More than 100,000 migrants reported annually.

THREATS: None.

SPECIES: 27 species in spring and 28 species in autumn are regular migrants.

TOP SPECIES: data from spring 1981 and autumn 1984.

  • Pernis apivorus       European Honey Buzzard     65,190
  • Accipiter brevipes    Levant Sparrowhawk           18,172
  • Aquila pomarina      Lesser Spotted Eagle            13,344

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Milvus migrans: Black Kite; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo buteo: Common Buzzard; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Hieraaetus fasciatus: Bonelli's Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco eleonorae: Eleonora's Falcon; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco biarmicus: Lanner Falcon; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

BORCKA

LOCATION: NE TURKEY;  170 km NNE of Erzurum. 

DESCRIPTION: A river valley watchsite at the base of a steep canyon on the lower Coruh River. In autumn hundreds of thousands of raptors migrate along the narrow eastern coastal plain of the Black Sea before turning south to follow narrow mountain valleys. 

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal autumn (Aug-Oct).

COUNTS: > 210,000 counted in 1996.

THREATS: Trapping and shooting.

TOP SPECIES: 1996 data.

  • Buteo buteo          Common Buzzard           207,000
  • Aquila pomarina     Lesser Spotted Eagle          3,310
  • Milvus migrans       Black Kite                            1,291
  • Circaetus gallicus   Short-toed Snake Eagle       1,210

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Pernis apivorus: European Honey Buzzard; Haliaeetus albicilla: White-tailed Eagle; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Gypaetus barbatus: Bearded Vulture; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Hieraaetus fasciatus: Bonelli's Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

BOSPHORUS

LOCATION: NW TURKEY, in and north of Istanbul.

DESCRIPTION: A peninsula watchsite. The west coast of the Black Sea is a major migration corridor for raptors in spring and autumn. Migrants are funneled by the narrow land bridge that links Europe and Asia at the Bosphorus. Most of the world populations of Accipiter brevipes and Aquila pomarina may migrate at the site.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar-Apr) and autumn (Jul-Nov).

COUNTS: Between 29,000 and 75,000 in autumn and > 26,000 in spring.

THREATS: Trapping.

TOP SPECIES:

  • Aquila pomarina       Lesser Spotted Eagle           18,864
  • Buteo buteo            Common Buzzard                12,950
  • Pernis apivorus        European Honey Buzzard       9,000

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Milvus milvus: Black Kite; Haliaeetus albicilla: White-tailed Eagle; Aegypius monachus: Cinereous Vulture; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Buteo lagopus: Rough-legged Hawk; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotter Eagle; Aquila heliacal: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Hieraaetus fasciatus: Bonelli's Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco eleonorae: Eleonora's Falcon; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco biarmicus: Lanner Falcon; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

ELAT

LOCATION: ISRAEL, 245 km SW of Jerusalem at the north end of the Gulf of Elat.

DESCRIPTION: A coastal mountain watchsite located on the west slopes of the Arava Vallery. With counts of at least 1.2 million migrating raptors each spring, Elat is one of the world's most important watchsites.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Feb-May) and autumn (Sept-Nov).

COUNTS: An average of 827,000 individuals are seen each spring.

THREATS: Habitat alterations associated with increased recreation.

TOP SPECIES:

  • Pernis apivorus      European Honey Buzzard      363,200
  • Buteo buteo          Common Buzzard                  326,280
  • Milvus migrans       Black Kite                                 28,250
  • Aquila nipalensis     Steppe Eagle                            28,000

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short- toed Snake Eagle; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Buteo buteo: Common Buzzard; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila pomarina: Lesser Spotted Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby.

HULA VALLEY

LOCATION: NE ISRAEL, in the north Jordan River Valley. 

DESCRIPTION: A lowland watchsite at the extreme north extension of the Rift Valley.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar-Jun) and autumn (Aug-Nov).

COUNTS: > than 100,000 migrants reported annually.

THREATS: Pesticides.

TOP SPECIES:

  • Pernis apivorus        European Honey Buzzard      35,000
  • Accipiter brevipes     Levant Sparrowhawk            20,000
  • Aquila pomarina       Lesser Spotted Eagle             35,000

OTHER SPECIES: Milvus migrans: Black Kite; Haliaeetus albicilla: White-tailed Eagle; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila heliacal: Eastern Imperial Eagle.

NORTHERN VALLEYS

LOCATION: ISRAEL, northern Israel southeast of Haifa.

DESCRIPTION: A lowland 75 km transect through agricultural valleys between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar-Jun) and autumn (Aug-Oct).

COUNTS: An average of 471,000 migrants annually.

THREATS: Pesticides

TOP SPECIES:

  • Pernis apivorus      European Honey Buzzard   343,370
  • Aquila pomarina     Lesser Spotted Eagle            68,300
  • Accipiter brevipes  Levant Sparrowhawk            42,260

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Milvus milvus: Red Kite; Milvus migrans: Black Kite; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Buteo buteo: Common Buzzard; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila clanga: Great Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Hieraaetus fasciatus: Bonelli's Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco eleonorae: Eleonora's Falcon; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco biarmicus: Lanner Falcon; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

Africa

 BAB-el-MANDEB STRAITS

LOCATION: DJIBOUTI, The strait that joins the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea in northern Djibouti.

DESCRIPTION: The shortest overwater crossing between Africa and Asia south of the Sinai Peninsula and a major entry point into and out of Africa for Asian migrants. Counts are conducted at sea level as migrants arrive over water from the Arabian Peninsula.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar) and autumn (Oct-Nov).

COUNTS: >240,000 migrants in autumn.

THREATS: None.

TOP SPECIES:

  • Buteo buteo         Common Buzzard          98,340
  • Aquila nipalensis    Steppe Eagle                  76,590
  • Accipiter nisus       Eurasian Sparrowhawk     2,140

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Pernis apivorus: European Honey Buzzard; Milvus migrans: Black Kite; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus macroucus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila pomarina: Lesser Spotted Eagle; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Hieraaetus fasciatus: Bonelli's Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco eleonorae: Eleonora's Falcon; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco biarmicus: Lanner Falcon; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

MTI MWILI (TWO TREES)

LOCATION: TANZANIA, Northern Tanzania between the Serengeti Plains and Ngorongoro Crater.

DESCRIPTION: A lowland watchsite dominated by grassland savanna.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar).

COUNTS: Spectacular movements of >140,000 Lesser Kestrels in March.

THREATS: Unknown.

TOP SPECIES: 1996 data.

  • Falco naumanni         Lesser Kestrel      160,000

OTHER SPECIES: Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier.

SUEZ

LOCATION: EGYPT, east of Cairo at the north end of the Gulf of Suez.

DESCRIPTION: A coastal plain watchsite at the south end of the Suez Canal. Suez is a major bottleneck on the migration route for raptors traveling between breeding grounds in Europe and Asia and overwintering areas in Africa.

MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Feb-May) and autumn (Sept - Nov).

COUNTS: 134,000 migrants in autumn and 125,000 migrants in spring.

THREATS: Unknown.

TOP SPECIES: 1982 annual data.

  • Buteo buteo        Common Buzzard            81,530
  • Aquila nipalensis    Steppe Eagle                   80,680
  • Aquila pomarina    Lesser Spotted Eagle       29,255

OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Pernis apivorus: European Honey Buzzard; Milvus milvus: Red Kite; Milvus migrans: Black Kite; Aegypius monachus: Cinereous Vulture; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Gypaetus barbatus: Bearded Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macroucus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Aquila pomarina: Lesser Spotted Eagle; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Aquila heliaca: Eastern Imperial Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos; Golden Eagle; Hieraaetus fasciatus: Bonelli's Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon; Falco eleonorae: Eleonora's Falcon; Falco concolor: Sooty Falcon; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco biarmicus; Lanner Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon; Falco pelegrinoides: Barbary Falcon.

    Europe

    BATUMI

    LOCATION: GEORGIA, along the Eastern coast of the Black Sea.

    DESCRIPTION: The Black Sea coast of western Georgia is a major corridor for raptors migrating between Russia and the Middle East. Batumi is the largest and most diverse raptor migration bottleneck in Eurasia.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal autumn (Aug-Oct).

    COUNTS: >1,000,000 raptors.

    THREATS: Shooting.

    TOP SPECIES:Fall 2013 data from web site.

    • Buteo buteo vulpinus        Steppe Buzzard                   446,864
    • Pernis apivorus                 European Honey Buzzard     443,992
    • Milvus migrans                  Black Kite                              126,967

    OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Buto buteo: Common Buzzard; Pernis ptilorhynchus: Crested Honey Buzzard; Aquila heliaca: Imperial Eagle; Aquila pomarina: Lesser Spotted Eagle; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Haliaeetus albicilla: White-tailed Eagle; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

    KOLKHETI LOWLAND

    LOCATION: GEORGIA, SW between Lake Paleostomi and Batumi.

    DESCRIPTION: A coastal plain watchsite on the east coast of the Black Sea.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Feb-May) and autumn (Aug-Nov).

    COUNTS:  >79,000 migrants in spring and >53,000 in autumn.

    THREATS:  Shooting, pollution and urban development.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Buteo buteo         Common Buzzard                  44,900
    • Pernis apivorus     European Honey Buzzard        8,420
    • Milvus migrans      Black Kite                                2,300

    OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyption Vulture; Circaetus gallicus: Short-toed Snake Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus macrourus: Pallid Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circus aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter brevipes: Levant Sparrowhawk; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo rufinus: Long-legged Buzzard; Buteo lagopus: Rough-legged Hawk; Aquila pomarina: Lesser Spotted Eagle; Aquila clanga: Greater Spotted Eagle; Aquila nipalensis: Steppe Eagle; Hieraaetus pennatus: Booted Eagle; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco vespertinus; Red-footed Falcon; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco cherrug: Saker Falcon.

    STRAIT OF GIBRALTER

    LOCATION: SPAIN.

    DESCRIPTION: A coastal plain watchsite at the narrowest part of the Strait of Gibralter, the body of water separating Spain (Europe) and Morocco (Africa). The most important Mediterranean Sea crossing point in the western Mediterranean.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Feb-Jun) and autumn (Jul-Nov).

    COUNTS: >140,000 migrants representing 19 species in autumn.

    THREATS: Wind turbines and electrical lines.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Pernis apivorus            European Honey Buzzard          86,700
    • Milvus migrans             Black Kite                                   39,000
    • Hieraaetus pennatus    Booted Eagle                               6,830
    • Circaetus gallicus          Short-toed Snake Eagle               2,100

    OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Milvus milvus: Red Kite; Gyps fulvus: Griffon Vulture; Neophron percnopterus: Egyptian Vulture; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Circus pygargus: Montagu's Harrier; Circua aeruginosus: Western Marsh Harrier; Accipiter nisus: Eurasian Sparrowhawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo buteo: Common Buzzard; Falco naumanni: Lesser Kestrel; Falco tinnunculus: Common Kestrel; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco subbuteo: Eurasian Hobby; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

    North America

    CORPUS CHRISTI

    LOCATION: UNITED STATES, outside of Corpus Christi, Texas at the Hazel Bazemore County Park.

    DESCRIPTION: A coastal plain watchsite near the Gulf of Mexico.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar-May) and autumn (Aug-Dec).

    COUNTS: An average of 600,000 raptors are seen annually.

    THREATS: None.

    SPECIES: 17 species of regular migrants and 6 irrregular migrants.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Buteo platypterus        Broad-winged Hawk       564,858
    • Cathartes aura             Turkey Vulture                 31,644 
    • Ictinia mississippiensis    Mississippi Kite                  12,859
    • Buteo swainsoni            Swainson's Hawk               7,414

    OTHER SPECIES: Coragyps atratus: Black Vulture; Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Elanoides forficatus: Swallow-tailed Kite; Elanus leucurus: White-tailed Kite; Haliaeetus leucocephalus: Bald Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Accipiter striatus: Sharp-shinned Hawk; Accipiter cooperii: Cooper's Hawk; Parabuteo unicinctus: Harris's Hawk; Buteo lineatus: Red-shouldered Hawk; Buteo albacaudatus: White-tailed Hawk; Buteo jamaicensis: Red-tailed Hawk; Buteo regalis: Ferruginous Hawk; Buteo lagopus: Rough-legged Hawk; Caracara plancus: Southern Crested Caracara; Falco sparverius: American Kestrel; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco mexicanus: Prairie Falcon; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

    LAKE ERIE METROPARK

    LOCATION: UNITED STATES, 50 km south of Detroit in SE Michigan.

    DESCRIPTION: A lakeside watchsite on the west shoreline of Lake Erie near the mouth of the Detroit River. Southbound migrants cross the Detroit River into Michigan from Ontario, Canada.

    COUNTS: An average of just under 110,000 is seen annually.

    THREATS: Shooting because of duck hunting in the area.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Buteo platyperus          Broad-winged Hawk        87,887
    • Cathartes aura             Turkey Vulture                12,027
    • Accipiter stiatus            Sharp-shinned Hawk         4,141
    • Buteo jamaicensis         Red-tailed Hawk               3,498

    OTHER SPECIES:  Pandion haliaetus : Osprey; Haliaeetus leucocephalus: Bald Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier: Accipiter cooperii : Cooper's Hawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo lineatus: Red-shouldered Hawk; Buteo swainsoni : Swainson's Hawk; Buteo lagopus: Rough-legged Hawk; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Falco sparverius: American Kestrel; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

    HAWK MOUNTAIN SANCTUARY

    LOCATION: UNITED STATES, Central Appalachian mountains of eastern Pennsylvania.

    DESCRIPTION:    A mountaintop watchsite on the 300 km long Kittatinny Ridge. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was the world's first refuge for birds of prey and maintains the longest and most complete record of raptor migration in the world.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal autumn (Aug-Dec) and spring (Mar-May).

    COUNTS: An average of 18,000 raptors are seen annually, 16 species are regular migrants and two irregular.

    THREATS: None.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Buteo platypterus           Broad-winged Hawk        8,340
    • Accipiter striatus              Sharp-shinned Hawk      7,640
    • Buteo jamaicensis            Red-tailed Hawk             3,780

    OTHER SPECIES:  Corygyps atratus: Black Vulture; Cathartes aura: Turkey Vulture; Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Haliaeetus leucocephalus: Bald Eagle; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Accipiter cooperii : Cooper's Hawk; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk; Buteo lineatus: Red-shouldered Hawk; Buteo swainsoni : Swainson's Hawk (irregular); Buteo lagopus: Rough-legged Hawk; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Falco sparverius: American Kestrel; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon; Falco rusticolus: Gyrfalcon(irregular).

    Mexico, Central America

    TONALA

    LOCATION: SE MEXICO, Chiapas.

    DESCRIPTION: A mountaintop watchsite located in the south foothills of the Sierra del Madre del Sur, 20km northeast of the Pacific Ocean overlooking the Pacific coastal plain. This is one of two flight lines used by migrants flying along the Mesoamerican land corridor from North America to Central and South America.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar-Apr) and possibly autumn.

    COUNTS: > 236,000 individuals in spring.

    THREATS: Habitat loss.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Cathartes aura        Turkey Vulture             134,000
    • Buteo swainsoni       Swainson's Hawk           98,000
    • Buteo platypterus    Broad-winged Hawk        4,000

    OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey: Chondrohierax uncinatus: Hook-billed Kite; Ictinia plumbea: Plumbeous Kite; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Accipiter striatus: Sharp-shinned Hawk; Accipiter cooperii : Cooper's Hawk; Buteo lineatus: Red-shouldered Hawk; Buteo albonotatus: Zone-tailed Hawk; Buteo jamaicensis: Red-tailed Hawk; Falco sparverius: American Kestrel;Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

    VERACRUZ RIVER OF RAPTORS

    LOCATION: MEXICO

    CARDEL: The eastern monitoring site located on top of the Hotel Bienvenidos 7 km west of the Gulf of Mexico.

    CHICHICAXTLE: The western monitoring site located 17 km west of the Gulf of Mexico atop the Veracruz Bird Observatory tower built in 2008.

    DESCRIPTION: The Veracruz River of Raptors watchsite consists of two sites whose combined totals represent the largest concentration of migrating raptors in the world. A < 30 km wide geographic bottleneck at the intersection of Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental and the E end of the Central Volcanic Belt forms a narrow passage of lowlands along the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico. Raptors migrating from North America to spend the non-breeding season in Middle and South America take advantage of the abundant thermals along the coastal plain.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Feb-May) and autumn (Aug-Nov).

    COUNTS: 4.5-5 million raptors each autumn and 900,000 - 2 million raptors in spring.

    THREATS: Deforestation, overgrazing, shooting and pesticides.

    SPECIES: 15 species of regular migrants.

    TOP SPECIES: average count data from: Ruelas I.,E. 2008. Raptor-migration Watchsite Descriptions. Pp. 279-302 in K.L.Bildstein, J.P.Smith, E.Ruelas I, and R.R.Veit(eds). State of North Americas Birds of Prey. Nuttall Ornithological Club and American Ornithologists Union Series in Ornithology No. 3. Cambridge, Massachusetts and washington, D.C. [TP-11].

    • Cathartes aura          Turkey Vulture               2,001,537
    • Buteo platypterus      Broad-winged Hawk      1,941,335
    • Buteo swainsoni         Swainson's Hawk             851,977

    OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Elanoides forficatus: Swallow-tailed Kite; Elanus leucurus: White-tailed Kite; Ictinia mississippiensis: Mississippi Kite; Chondrohierax uncinatus: Hook-billed Kite; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Accipiter striatus: Sharp-shinned Hawk; Accipiter cooperii : Cooper's Hawk; Buteo nitidus: Gray Hawk; Buteogallus anthracinus: Common Black Hawk; Parabuteo unicinctus: Harris's Hawk; Buteo lineatus: Red-shouldered Hawk; Buteo albonotatus: Zone-tailed Hawk; Buteo jamaicensis; Red-tailed Hawk; Buteo regalus: Ferruginous Hawk; Buteo brachyurus: Short-tailed Hawk; Buteo magnirostris: Roadside Hawk; Falco sparverius: American Kestrel; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon; Haliaeetus leucocephalus: Bald Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos: Golden Eagle; Accipiter gentilis: Northern Goshawk.

    KEKOLDI

    LOCATION: COSTA RICA; A protected area in the Talamanca Mountains above the Caribbean coastal plain of Costa Rica.

    DESCRIPTION: One of four places in the world where it is possible to observe more than 1 million migrating raptors in one season. A 5 km wide funnel like region between the Caribbean Sea and the mountains.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Boreal spring (Mar-May) and autumn (Sept-Nov).

    COUNTS: Almost 2 million migrants in autumn and 800,000 in spring.

    THREATS: None

    TOP SPECIES: average autumn counts from 2000-2003.

    • Cathartes aura          Turkey Vulture              911,659
    • Buteo platypterus     Broad-winged Hawk      655,313
    • Buteo swainsoni        Swainson's Hawk           293,432

    OTHER SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus: Osprey; Circus cyaneus: Northern Harrier; Elanoides forficatus; Swallow-tailed Kite; Ictinia plumbea: Plumbeous Kite; Accipiter striatus: Sharp-shinned Hawk; Accipiter cooperii : Cooper's Hawk; Buteo albonotatus: Zone-tailed Hawk; Buteo jamaicensis: Red-tailed Hawk; Falco sparverius: American Kestrel; Falco columbarius: Merlin; Falco peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon.

    PANAMA CANAL ZONE

    LOCATION: PANAMA, north of and including Panama City.

    DESCRIPTION: A coastal-plain watchsite in the hills and lowlands of the southern Istmus of Panama. This site provided some of the earliest reports of massive hawk migration along the Mesoamerican Land Corridor and remains one of the best locations to monitor world populations of Broad-winged and Swainson's Hawks.

    MIGRATION PERIOD: Autumn (Sept-Nov).

    COUNTS: >700,000 migrants reported annually.

    THREATS: None.

    TOP SPECIES:

    • Cathartes aura          Turkey Vulture                 296,000
    • Buteo platypterus      Broad-winged Hawk         252,000
    • Buteo swainsoni         Swainson's Hawk              227,000

    OTHER SPECIES: Ictinia plumbea: Plumbeous Kite; Ictinia mississippiensis: Mississippi Kite; Elanoides forficatus: Swallow-tailed Kite.

    References

    Zalles, J.I. and Bildstein, K.L., eds. (2000) Raptor Watch: a global directory of raptor migration sites. Cambridge, UK: Birdlife International; and Kempton, PA, USA: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Asso. (Bird Conservation Series No. 9).

    HawkCount.org

    Silhouette Station