August 26, 2014

Bald Eagle Migration Day

FREE eagle programs

Bald Eagle Migration Day:
Saturday, August 30

Eagle programs at 11 am and 2 pm
Learn more about bald eagles

Visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on “Bald Eagle Migration Day,” Saturday, August 30, and see a live bald eagle up close and personal during two free presentations at 11 am and 2 pm by Carbon County Environmental Center. Eagle programs will be held in the outdoor amphitheater, or indoors in the event of rain and replace the regularly-scheduled "Raptors Up Close" program.

Bald Eagle Migration Day is designed to remind visitors that late August and early September are some of the best times to see bald eagles on migration. At this time of year visitors have a 40 percent chance of seeing a bald eagle at Hawk Mountain’s North Lookout, and a 52 percent chance between September 1 and 15th.

“Eagles are on the rise, and now more than ever you have a chance of seeing one at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary,” says Mary Linkevich, a spokesperson for the Sanctuary.

Children will be invited to participate in a bald eagle counting activity at the Lookout, and free information about eagles, their conservation status and their natural history can be found in the Visitor Center.

About the Bald Eagle

Photo by Bill Moses

Perhaps the most easily recognized raptor, adult bald eagles are easily distinguished by the white head feathers that stand out against the bird’s dark brown body, but these feathers don’t appear until the bird is at least four or five years old. First-year eagles tend to be brown overall or have white mottling on the underside of its wings. In the second and third year, the birds show heavy white streaking on the breast, and a year later, may have a nearly-white head with dark ‘smudges’.

    To identify an eagle at any age, look for a thick, barrel-like body, plank-like wings, an enormous beak and bright yellow feet. In flight, Bald Eagles are enormous: the wingspan may reach as wide as 7.5 feet and the bird can weigh up to 14 pounds. In comparison, the more commonly seen Red-tailed Hawk weighs just 1.5 to 3 pounds and has a wingspan less than half the eagle.

About Hawk Mountain

Distant eagle by Fenna Millen

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a prime observation spot for watching the autumn raptor migration thanks to its location along the easternmost edge of the Appalachians. Here, hawks use ridge currents to gain lift, just like glider pilots on long-distance flights. Besides hawks, eagles and falcons, hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, songbirds and waterfowl also use the Appalachian Mountain Flyway. Some species follow the Appalachians to their end, before heading south to the coastal plains of eastern Mexico and falling out to the tropical forests of Central and South America, but the Bald Eagle typically travels only as far as Florida.

The official Hawk Mountain Autumn Hawk Watch runs from August 15 to December 15. Those who wish to visit the lookout should wear sturdy shoes, dress in layered clothing, and bring binoculars, something soft to sit upon, and a daypack. The Sanctuary has no trash receptacles on site and follows a carry in–carry out trash policy. Snack food and water are available for sale in the Visitor Center.

Trails to the lookouts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are open daily from dawn to dusk. Weekday trail fees are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children 6-12. Weekend trail fees from September 1 through November 30 cost $8 for adults and seniors, and $4 for children 6-12. Trail fees include a variety of free weekend programs, which continue through November 18. Members, however, are admitted free of charge, year-round, and start at $40 for a family.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a non-profit, member-support organization located just seven miles north of I-78 near Hamburg (exit 29B). For more information on weather forecasts, or for the daily hawk count, call the info line at 610-756-6000 x6, or to speak to someone at the Sanctuary, call 610-756-6961.

Sand and Co