May 21, 2018

Spring Migration Hawk Watch Wrap-Up

The 2018 Spring Migration Hawk Watch came to a close on May 15, after a six week observation period that begun April 1. Hawk Mountain Conservation Science Trainees, assisted by volunteers and staff, tallied a total 567 migrating raptors during this time.

The total count for this year is about 40% lower than the 10-year average, mostly due to weather during peak migration times. A great number of rain days in April and May affected the count, and southeast winds in late April may have pushed migrating birds to the west. Additionally, an early string of warm days may have caused short distance migrants, such as red-tailed hawks and sharp-shinned hawks, to move north before the official April 1 start date of the Hawk Watch.

Broad-winged hawks were the most numerous migrant, followed by osprey, sharpshins, and redtails. Every species came in under the 10-year average, except for the peregrine falcon, of which 3 were seen during the count season. Daily counts can be seen at Click to download the migration totals report.

Other migrants spotted included common loon, barn and tree swallows, and double-crested cormorants. Migrating raptors and other avian wildlife may continue to be seen soaring past the Lookouts in the coming weeks.

The Autumn Migration Hawk Watch will take place August 15 through December 15. Click here to learn peak migration times for specific species. 

Sand and Co