Spring Migration Wrap-Up

Posted on May 30, 2019 in Science

Each year the Spring Migration Hawk Watch officially runs from April 1 through May 15. Overall, the count was a little below the 10-year average of 983 raptors.

The 2019 spring count ended on a high note with three bald eagles, a broad-winged hawk and an unidentified raptor seen heading north on May 15th.  The spring's count peaked on April 19th with 176 birds counted which included 7 osprey, 2 harriers, 16 sharp-shinned hawks, and a season high 132 broad-winged hawks.  

This year's weather was not nearly as wet as last year, but we still had above average precipitation. Most species were at or below the 10-year average, with turkey vultures, osprey, and red-tailed hawks well below average.  Broad-winged hawks were slightly above average, but the highlights of the spring were above the falcon species, American kestrels, merlins and peregrine falcons all had above average counts. 

Non-raptor migration was a nice mix of species with waterbirds being the first abundant migrants to move through.  Highlights included 13 great blue herons on the April 7th and 22 common loons and 30 double-crested cormorants on April 19th.  The first tree swallows were spotted on March 25th and were seen most days.  Barn, cliff and northern-rough winged swallows followed in mid-April. Songbird migration was on the low side, but highlights included black-and-white warbler, ovenbird, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole and winter wren.

Bald eagles photo and black-and-white warbler photos by Bill Moses.