We hope this letter finds you healthy and happy
during this holiday season. THANKS to
your support, we had another successful year! You can
read the November count and banding reports below, as well as our highlights from 2019. If you'd like to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation to help Hawk Ridge continue to do our best for the birds, you can easily do so by clicking HERE TODAY! www.hawkridge.org/support/donate/ We truly appreciate your gift and look forward to connecting with you in 2020!
November 2019 Banding and Count Reports
Raptor Banding Summary
first half of November was good for migration. It was an impressive number of the raptors seen from the blind, this good
response was due to colder than
normal temperatures and a steady movement with westerly winds. The second
half of the month turned to easterly winds, warmer than normal temperatures, and many
cloudy days. It was clear that most raptors by then, especially
goshawks, were already settled in their winter territory. It was unusual to not
catch any goshawks after the 14th of November!!
that eat small mammals (voles and mice) seem high from the reports I
received from observers north of us. Lots of Rough-legged Hawk
with counts of 50 plus in Sax-Zim alone were reported all month with
lesser numbers of Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawk. Likely Boreal,
which were reported moving in good numbers in eastern Ontario, were
likely stopped short before reaching us due to the high density.
The HRBO station was open 29 days with the 30th of
November closed due to a winter storm that dumped 20 plus inches of snow
in Duluth. A total of 96 raptor were banded, which is well above our
average in recent years. The Moose Valley site was in operation on 3
days during the month. For the second year in a row, the season's only
Rough-legged Hawk (an adult female light morph) was captured at this site.
The following was captured and banded:
One more highlight was catching and banding Northern Shrike. Two were banded this November.
-Frank Nicoletti, Hawk Ridge Banding Director
Owl Banding Summary
Owl migration came to a gradual close leading up to the end of the
banding season on November 9. A few Northern Saw-whet Owls were still
moving through each night, with a total of 25 individuals caught in
November. Long-eared Owls kept the nights exciting until almost the
very end, including a late push of 27 individuals on November 7. In
fact, nearly half of the Long-eared Owls caught this fall were caught in
the last 10 nights of the season!
A total of
1263 individual owls of were caught throughout the fall: 1144 Northern
Saw-whet Owls, 111 Long-eared Owls, 5 Barred Owls, 1 Eastern
Screech-Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, and 1 Boreal Owl. Thank you to everyone
involved in making this yet another amazing owl season at the Ridge!
-Kate Maley, Fall Owl Bander
Bird Migration Count Summary
November wrapped up our
last month of migration at Hawk Ridge! A total of 2,268 raptors were counted
for the month, the most for the last five years. By far the most numerous of
the raptors were Bald Eagles, with a total of 1,160 counted in November. This
number is not unusual, though it did help set a new Fall record for Bald
Eagles. That previous record was set two years ago at 6,099 in 2017. The new
record this Fall is 6,177!
The second highest
numbers were the Red-tailed Hawks. Many Red-tails came through within the first
two weeks of November, but a few still trickled through right to the end of the
season. We saw 840 this month and 6,734 for the season. The only other raptor
to reach triple digits for the month was Golden Eagles, just managing to see
101 in November. This is almost half of all the Golden Eagles seen at Hawk
Ridge for the whole season! The season total for Goldens is 203 individuals.
The rest of the more
common November raptors made steady if not spectacular appearances.
Rough-legged Hawks came in third with 79 birds in November, a very low number
for the month where usually over two or three hundred are seen. In fact, the
total Rough-legged count is just 158, the lowest season since 1989!
of the amazing
things about November is the chance to see fantastic looks at Northern
Goshawks. This is the month when many adults begin coming through and
many times, the view of
these birds coming straight through the treetops is like nothing else.
up with a November total of 62 Goshawks leading to a season total of 239.
Finishing off the
raptors came a few late Sharp-shinned Hawks, with 17 birds in November and 9
Northern Harriers. These late stragglers rounded out the November raptor
species diversity a little, giving a small change of pace from eagles and
Most non-raptor numbers decline at the end of the season. However, the
American Robin made its way to the claim the highest number spot with 43,903
counted by the end of November. While “unidentified warbler” came in right behind Robins,
Blue Jays were
the second highest of the birds we were able to identify at 24,371
for the season. One bird that also became a regular in November was the
Northern Shrike. This hunting passerine made 11 appearances at the Ridge totaling
23 for the season. All of the passerine daily checklists can also be found on e-bird
for Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L268365
was a cold and snowy end to the season, but we are very grateful to all the volunteers
and regular watchers who made the last few months enjoyable. We are looking
forward to the Spring 2020 count, and seeing many of you next Fall for another
great season at Hawk Ridge!
Krista Botting and Hawk Ridge Count Team
2019 Hawk Ridge Highlights
Here’s what your support is helping us achieve:
Bird Migration Count Research – Conducted both spring and fall counts this year
with over 90,000 raptors of 17 different species and nearly 210,000 other
migrating birds of over 160 species counted in 2019! New Bald Eagle records
for both spring and fall! Over 3 million raptors have been counted at Hawk
Ridge since the standardized count started in fall 1972! This data is contributed to hawkcount.org and other projects to be used for bird conservation research, such as the Raptor Population Index. You can view the fall raptor count totals HERE and season totals HERE.The West Skyline Spring Count starts again March
1st - hope to see you there!
Bird Banding Research – Hawk Ridge is the largest raptor banding
operation in the country and completed its 48th fall season! Over 3300
raptors (including 1263 owls) were banded in fall 2019. Highlights were
recapturing the Eastern Screech Owl from 2018, as well as banded Short-eared
and Boreal Owls! We continued passerine banding research & education
at Hawk Ridge, including the volunteer-led summer MAPS project and breeding
bird surveys. All banding data is contributed to the USGS Bird Banding
Lab. Through banding, we can better
understand the life history and population ecology of birds by tracking
survival, behavior, and movement.
Education - Taught over 200 programs nearly 5,500
participants of all ages in 2019! This includes our school programs, youth
groups, workshops, field trips and outreach events. We also continue to
share the wonder of the migration with thousands of visitors through live
bird education demos, kid's cart activities and crafts, and interpretive programs.
Stewardship of Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve
- Coordinated volunteer-led
projects and efforts throughout the year at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve, including invasive species management,
cleaning up the reserve (trails, litter), & working on site management
maintenance and improvements.
Events - Held our annual Hawk
Weekend festival in September. Dr. John Fitzpatrick gave a wonderful bird
conservation presentation and attendees enjoyed field trips and workshops. We
also held our 3rdTake
Flight with Hawk Ridge Gala in October. We shared successes
& highlights, celebrated long-time volunteers Gail Marsman & Jeanne
Filiatrault Laine with the Hawk Ridge Lifetime Achievement award, enjoyed a
fantastic owl presentation by guest speaker Scott Weidensaul, and close to
$9,000 filled our kettle of hawks in support of Hawk Ridge!
Volunteer & Traineeship Programs - Over 70 volunteers
contributed 3000 hours to Hawk Ridge this year! We had 7 new trainees
this fall that worked closely with our managers and gained professional field
experience skills within our count, banding, and education program areas. THANK
YOU to all of our volunteers and trainees from 2019! We couldn't do what we do
We hope our 2020 highlights will be just as memorable as this year! We are
counting on your support TODAY to help make that happen!Your tax-deductible contribution will have an enormous impact in not only helping ensure
we can continue our fall migration count, bird banding, and environmental education
programs, but also help Hawk Ridge reach it's full potential. Please consider making a year-end gift to make it possible to carry out our important bird
research and education programs in 2020 and help Hawk Ridge Take Flight. Thank you!http://www.hawkridge.org/support/donate/
We truly appreciate your support!
You can also avoid online processing fees and still help Hawk Ridge
Bird Observatory by donating via
mailed check to Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, P.O. Box 3006, Duluth, MN
55803 or if you have a PayPal account, you can also Donate via PayPal Giving Fund with no fees.
fall season is winding down on another great bird migration at Hawk
Ridge. We wrapped up our public education programs at Hawk Ridge Nature
Reserve on October 31. October summaries for our bird
migration count, banding research, education programs, and the Take
Flight with Hawk Ridge Gala event are included in this newsletter.
Thank you to all of our friendly,
knowledgeable staff and volunteers for sharing the magic of the migration at Hawk
Ridge with thousands of wonderful visitors this fall. We also can’t thank our amazing members
and donors enough for visiting and supporting our cause.
the Max day is next week, which is a major annual giving day here in MN for many
nonprofits, including Hawk Ridge. We would super appreciate your donation
during this important giving campaign. We count on this day of support to ensure we can continue our
mission of protecting birds of prey and other migratory birds in the Western
Lake Superior Region through research, education, and stewardship.
Let’s make 2020
another great year for Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory together for the good of the
birds, people, and place. Thank you!
P.S. Remember you can view our raptor count HERE for totals & daily summaries and watch the count in action LIVE HERE or via hawkridge.org now through November 30th!
OCTOBER MIGRATION SUMMARIES
you'll find the October summary reports and highlights from our bird
migration count staff, bird banding research staff, and education staff.
We had a great October and look forward to sharing more with you as our
fall count and banding research continues through November!
October 2019 Fall Bird Migration Summary
October was another
spectacular month of migration at Hawk Ridge! An impressive total of 15,084
raptors were counted for the month. Sharp-shinned Hawks showed up in good
numbers for October, including a surprisingly high count of 1,354 on the 13th.
They slowed down to single digits per day by the end of the month, but Sharpies
totaled 6,006, making them October’s most common raptor at the Ridge.
Not far behind the
Sharpies were Red-tailed Hawks, which started the month relatively slowly but
quickly built in numbers. Red-tails peaked at a total of 902 on the 23rd on
their way to an October total of 5,565. Bald Eagle was the other raptor
totaling in the thousands for the month, with 2,080 seen, including a peak of
172 on the 17th. With a full month to go, Bald Eagles have already surpassed
5,000, and are just shy of their average over the last ten years of 5,069.
Broad-winged Hawks were
the story of September, but October brought just 22 of them, including two
relatively late individuals spotted on the 23rd. Also tapering off early in the
month were Osprey, with just eight seen, the final bird on the 10th. This
brought their total to 201 for the season, well below the 10-year average of
269. Peregrine Falcons were near daily throughout the first half of the month,
reaching a season total of 155, considerably higher than the 10-year average of
Right on schedule, some
late-season specialties have picked up considerably throughout the latter part
of the month, and promise to continue their upward swing into November.
Northern Goshawks have begun to put on a fantastic show, including a thrilling
total of 28 on the 23rd. Golden Eagles also arrived en masse, with an October
28th peak of 18 contributing to a solid total of 100 for the month.
Rough-legged Hawks have increased more gradually, peaking at 14 on the 20th and
reaching a total of 78 for the month.
As far as non-raptors, October saw some good movement of robins and blackbirds. On October 13, 3,277
Rusty Blackbirds and close to 800 Yellow-rumped Warblers were counted along with
many other migrating passerines. A late Philadelphia Vireo was a nice surprise.
October 14 was another amazing morning for robins and blackbirds with 4,237
American Robins, 3,165 Rusty Blackbirds, and 2,202 Common Grackles counted. The
first Northern Shrike was also counted.
October 16, 17, 20, & 24 also had a
good push of passerines, including 6,689 Rusty Blackbirds on the 16th
and 12,530 American Robins on the 24th. All of the passerine daily checklists
can also be found on ebird for Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L268365
fall count continues through November 30, so be sure to continue
following along online or if you'd like to brave the cold - we welcome you to
stop by the hawkwatch and say hi!
-Gary Palmer and Hawk Ridge Count Team
October 2019 Fall Raptor Banding Summary
numbers were down in comparison to previous Octobers. We were able to
cover the Hawk Ridge station most days with less coverage at the two
satellite stations. The flight never materialized and kept birds higher
than normal. The one day that stands out is October 23 with 14 Northern
Goshawks banded, including our first adults of the season.
October raptor numbers are below:
Northern Harrier- 10 (55)
Sharp-shinned Hawk- 270 (1651)
Cooper’s Hawk- 4 (24)
Northern Goshawk- 62 (69)
Broad-winged Hawk- 0 (11)
Red-tailed Hawk- 34 (52)
American Kestrel- 0 (24)
Merlin- 9 (68)
Peregrine Falcon- 3 (4)
Total- 392 (1958)
(#) Denotes season total
-Frank Nicoletti and Raptor Banding Team
Owl Banding Summary
October was an exciting month for owl banding! The month started
strong, with peak Northern Saw-whet Owl migration occurring in the first
half. The 954 saw-whets caught in October put the season total over
1,000. And we still have part of November left!
biggest night of the season took place on October 3. We caught 168
saw-whets as well as one Long-eared Owl and one Eastern Screech Owl.
Turns out, the screech owl was the same individual we caught in 2018,
making it still the first and only Eastern Screech Owl to have been
caught at the HRBO banding site.
lower Northern Saw-whet Owl numbers, the second half of the month was
anything but a let down. On October 28, in addition to the 28 saw-whets
and 12 long-eareds, we caught a Short-eared Owl. This was only the
17th Short-eared Owl caught at HRBO and the first in nearly a decade!
On top of that, we caught the first Boreal Owl of the season the
-Kate Maley, Hawk Ridge Owl Bander
October 2019 Fall Education Summary
much bird education fun in so little time! October has come and gone, as have
our days of daily outdoor programming (though one adventurous group scheduled a
November visit)! Many thanks to our dedicated and talented education crew of
naturalists Allie Quick, Andy Witchger, Jason Heinen, and Kaitlyn Okrusch, as
well as Frances Whalen and Katy Dahl - our education trainees for 2019. Lisa
Oakland and Noel Larson, our Visitor Services folks provided the glue to keep
things moving smoothly for all of our many visitors. Alex Sundvall and Clinton
Nienhaus kept visitors informed and enthralled as count interpreters.
was a wet month with 4 full days of major weather cancellations, and a
of partial days, which required some creative rescheduling. Late October
remained cloudy and wet, so it was almost a relief to have the wet
frozen forms. October weekends were full of great regularly scheduled
public programming. We also had 3 evening Owl Programs - the first of
held indoors due to inclement weather, but the last 2 were held outdoors
and well attended. MEA weekend was lovely this year with plenty
of visitors and an opportunity to unveil our new Exploration Station- a
visitor education station filled with bird trivia, bird artifacts, and
450 educational programs were provided to over 10,000 visitors in fall
2019. These program included school programs and other private group
programs, public programs, bird
demonstrations, owl programs, Hawk Weekend festival,
Kid’s Cart and Exploration Station.
Whew! That’s a lot of bird talk- but stay tuned there is
always more to come over the coming winter and spring!
-Margie Menzies and the Education Team
OTHER HAWK RIDGE NEWS
Take Flight with Hawk Ridge Gala was a Success!
3rd annual Take Flight Gala on Friday, October 11th was a successful
fundraising event for Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. 140 wonderful people
filled the Radisson Hotel ballroom in
celebration and support for the important bird conservation work we do. Attendees
enjoyed the great music by Jeffrey Flory and members of the Arrowhead
Chorale, artwork by Alexa Carson and jewelry by Curious Metal Design,
live birds from Wolf Ridge ELC and the Lake Superior Zoo, and poetry by
Phil Fitzpatrick from the Hawks on High book. We honored 2 of our loved,
longtime volunteers, Gail Marsman and Jeanne Filiatrault Laine, with
the 2019 Hawk Ridge Lifetime Achievement Award. The local news even came
to interview them, which you can view HERE!
Steve Wilson also received a 10-year service award for his time on the Hawk Ridge Board. Many wonderful nature and art-related auction items were bid on, migration highlights were shared, and much
support was given to help Hawk Ridge continue to Take Flight. The evening came to a close with afantastic program "Owls: Souls of the Night"
by Scott Weidensaul, which also emphasized the importance of the owl
research we are doing at Hawk Ridge. Thank you to all that donated -
whether it was your time, auction item, donation or other - it is all
Each year, generous supporters like you celebrate Give to
the Max Day by making your online donation on GiveMN.org. Your generosity on
this day makes a difference far beyond the 24-hour giving event. Please join us on November 14, 2019, for Give to the Max
Day and help us continue to protect birds in the Western Lake Superior Region
through research, education, and stewardship with our work at Hawk Ridge Bird
donation on Give to
the Max Day also may help us win additional prizes! How? On November 14,
gift made on GiveMN.org will be entered into additional prize drawings
for Golden Tickets $500 will be awarded every 15 minutes and $1000 every
hour, as well as one $10,000 Super Sized Golden Ticket. New this year
are Power Hours at 10am and 10pm awarded to the top
three organizations who raise the most money between 10:00-10:59 a.m.
and 10:00-10:59 p.m. First place will receive $3,000; second place will
receive $2,000; and third place will receive $1,000. Your
gift of $10 or more could instantly turn into an extra $500, $1,000 or even
$10,000 for us!
The more gifts we
generate on GiveMN.org during Give to the Max Day, the more our chances
increase to receive those additional prizes. Imagine what we could do with
$10,000! Our goal is to raise
$5000 and you can help us reach it!
Be sure to mark your
calendar and make your gift on November 14 by visiting GiveMN.org and searching
for "Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory" or by simply clicking HERE!
September Migration Reports 2019 - Click HERE to read our September Bird Migration Count, Banding, and Education Summaries
August Migration Reports 2019 -Click HERE to read our August Bird Migration Count and Banding Summaries
West Skyline Spring Count 2019- Please click HEREto read the West Skyline Spring Count Final Report and monthly
summaries. It was an exciting season and we look forward to Spring of
BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!
you're already a member of Hawk Ridge, we sincerely appreciate your
support! THANK YOU! If you aren't, we hope you've enjoyed yourexperience with us and at Hawk Ridge and ask that you renew or join as a Hawk Ridge member today! Our memberships and donations help drive our bird conservation research and education programs. You can check out our exciting membership benefits and join or renew online HERE!
2018 ANNUAL HIGHLIGHTS -Please click HERE to read and see how your support is helping us make a difference! Thank you!
RAISE $ FOR HAWK RIDGE BY WITH YOUR ONLINE SHOPPING!
Two simple ways to raise money for Hawk Ridge are by using 1) GoodShopand 2) Amazon Smile for your online shopping in support of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory to receive proceeds.
Thanks again for your support and hope to connect with you soon!