Spring 2020 Migration Count Overview

Posted on June 30, 2020 in Science

The 2020 Spring Migration Count was different than any of us had experienced. As a research facility we were deemed essential and the long-term spring count could continue, but with social distancing and limited contact. 

Despite the lonely days on the lookout, the 2020 Spring Count was a success. We tallied 1,269 raptors of 14 species from April 1 through May 15. Overall, the count was 30% above the 10-year average with notably higher counts of turkey vultures and broad-winged hawks. Counts of bald eagles also were above average. Several species had below average counts including black vulture, northern harrier, and sharp-shinned hawk.

A non-migrant brought some excitement to the lookout near the end of the count. On May 12, an adult Mississippi kite flew low over North Lookout heading down ridge in a southwest direction. This is only the 7th spring record of Mississippi kite for the Sanctuary!

See below for the breakdown of counted raptors during the 2020 Spring Migration Count. 

Spring 2020 Raptor Count