As we begin winding down for the season, there are a few tales from the hawk shack that have so far gone untold. The season peak for most of the raptor species that make their way through was around the end of April and the beginning of May. As it usually does, Michigan Audubon’s annual event, Spring Fling, was also around that time. It was wonderful to see so many visitors and volunteers come out to watch and support the birds.
Despite total numbers so far pointing to a shift in migration this year, it has been fantastic to experience the season peaks especially for the Sharp-shinned Hawk and Broad-winged Hawk. The days when they came through in big numbers left an impression on me and the visitors that came to see them. Although they are both among the smaller raptors, they are quite as majestic in large numbers as a single or even a pair of eagle or osprey.
In my last blog, I predicted that I had already seen the only Swainson’s Hawk for the season. I will admit that I was wrong! We got a surprise as another dark morph came through just a week after the first one. The best part was that all three of our seasonal staff were able to see it along with some visitors! The bird flew back and forth over the Point for a few hours before continuing on its journey.
I have also before mentioned a few eccentricities of the animals here at the hawk deck. The red squirrel that was so intent on grabbing extra sunflower seed is now not the only animal to have invaded the hawk shack. Last week I received a surprise as a Black-capped Chickadee flew right in through the open door and hit the back window. Thankfully it flew right back out again and into the jack pine unharmed, but it does remind me that even dirty windows can pose a threat to birds. Bird/window collisions are not completely preventable, but the application of special tape or stick on silhouettes can stop many birds from flying into glass.
We have less than two weeks to go, and my only hope is to see a few more pushes of migrating raptor and perhaps some more funny stories before we wrap it up on May 31.
2019 Spring Hawk Counter