Monday, June 14, 2021

Hawk Ridge News - May 2021


Dear Hawk Ridge Friends,

We hope you can join us for our last few weeks of our Spring Count now through May 31st! The diversity and numbers of migrating bird species has picked up this week with warmer temps and sunshine. Hawk Ridge has been counting all the birds during the spring migration since March 1st. Approximately 17,000 raptors of 16 species have been counted, as well as 26,000+ other birds (~100 different species) have also been counted. Thanks again for your support and if we don't see you this spring, we hope to catch the migration with you this fall!

West Skyline Hawk Count April Summary

By Frank Nicoletti, Spring Count Director

 

The WSHC was conducted for 25 days during April. The few days not covered were due to inclement weather, such as rain and snow. A total of 8282 raptors were counted of 15 species. The average of raptors counted was 331 per day. The monthly total of 8282 was well below the average for the month since the count resumed in 2018 with 12,604 as an average. Migration conditions in April were predominated by north and northwest winds. The lack of warm fronts and southerly winds often spread out the flight.

 


Highlights for raptors included two adult light Harlan’s, an adult dark Swainson’s, adult dark Broad-winged Hawk and 4 Red-shouldered Hawks, including 3 adults on the 10th.  Of course watching the raptors migrating daily is always a highlight. Some of the non-raptors included well over 3000 Bohemian Waxwings, 2584 American Robins, along with two days of almost 200 Yellow-rumped Warblers. There were many new arrivals coming most days during the month.

 

Many helped with the count and I truly appreciate their contributions: among these included Ralph Larsen, John Edwards, Ed Longhway, Dave Carman, Hannah Toutonghi, Steve Kolbe and Erik Bruhnke.

April Monthly Total

Turkey Vulture-2192

Osprey-83

Bald Eagle-1194

Northern Harrier-47

Sharp-shinned Hawk-937

Cooper’s Hawk-29

Red-shouldered Hawk-4

Broad-winged Hawk-1259

Red-tailed Hawk-2282

Swainson’s Hawk-1

Rough-legged Hawk-180

Golden Eagle-18

American Kestrel-22

Merlin-31

Peregrine Falcon-3

Total-8282

We welcome you out to visit us at the count! For directions and more information, click HERE!

Raptorthon 2021 Summary


Frank and the Spring Counters held the Raptorthon in support of Hawk Ridge and the Hawk Migration Association of North America on Saturday, April 17th. 425 raptors of 9 species were counted (254 Turkey Vultures, 3 Osprey, 79 Bald Eagles, 1 Northern Harrier, 22 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 55 Red-tailed Hawks, 7 Rough-legged Hawks, and 2 Merlins). Many visitors, volunteers, and participants in the Spring Migration Workshop led by Hawk Ridge Education Director, Margie Menzies, were in attendance. Thank you to all those that helped out and donated to the Raptorthon! It's much appreciated! You can still make a pledge by clicking HERE!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Pick a Bird Brain - Warblers, Warblers, Warblers! 

Tuesday, May 18th 7-8pm

FREE Virtual Public Program via Zoom (registration required)

CLICK HERE for registration info

The wonderful world of warblers is coming! Spring migration is on and these small, fine-feathered friends are on their way throughout the month of May. We’ll concentrate on who you are likely to see and hear during breeding season, where to look for them, learn about the specialists in the group, and other interesting natural history. Join Hawk Ridge Education Director, Margie Menzies, and John Richardson on May 18, 2021 from 7-8 pm CDT for the Pick a Bird Brain Session: Warblers, Warblers, Warblers!

Cost: Free Virtual Program (Donations Appreciated - Click HERE to donate - thank you!). Registration is required - CLICK HERE for registration.

Hawk Weekend Festival

September 17-19, 2021 (More info coming soon!)


Come and celebrate the fall bird migration with us! Hawk Weekend is the annual festival held by the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth, MN. It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of North America’s best places to experience the fall bird migration at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. There will be a variety of field trips, hikes, programs, and activities for all ages. More info coming soon!

Education Programs for Groups

Live virtual programs or small in-person group education programs are being offered by Hawk Ridge. If you have a group that’s interested in learning more about the amazing migration phenomenon at Hawk Ridge, we would love to share fascinating stories, science, and beautiful birds with you virtually or in-person. To find out more about offerings, please contact Margie Menzies, mmenzies@hawkridge.com or 218-428-8722, for booking your program.

Click HERE for virtual program offerings. 

 Ways of Giving

Become A Member Today!

If you're already a member of Hawk Ridge, we sincerely appreciate your support! THANK YOU! If you're not a member and have enjoyed your experience with Hawk Ridge, we invite you to 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!

Support Hawk Ridge by Shopping! 


If you missed out on one of our fun shirt designs from a past season at our merchandise trailer, you might be in luck. You can order some of our past designs like this adorable Northern Saw-whet Owl by Alexa Carson and it's shipped directly to you! Order online HERE!

Two more simple ways to raise money for Hawk Ridge are by using charitable online shopping options. 1) You can shop online at your favorite stores through GoodShop and Hawk Ridge earns cash back! 2) If you like to shop on Amazon, you can add Hawk Ridge as your charity you support via Amazon Smile and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory receives a donation of 0.5% of eligible purchases!

 Simply Donate

You can always simply donate online by clicking HERE or by mailing a check made out to Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, P.O. Box 3006, Duluth, MN 55803

P.S. If you missed any of our recent previous newsletters, you can find them HERE.

Thank you again for your wonderful gift of support!


Sincerely,

Janelle Long
Executive Director
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
P.O. Box 3006
Duluth, MN 55803-3006
Call: 218-428-6209
Contact: mail@hawkridge.org
Visit: www.hawkridge.org
Non-Profit Organization

Federal Tax ID 76-0746366



Hawk Ridge News - April 2021

 Dear Hawk Ridge Friends,

April is here and more birds are on the move! Even though we've had a few days of rain/fog here in Duluth, I've enjoyed watching many new feathered friends visiting our feeders (robins, chickadees, sparrows, nuthatches, woodpeckers and more!). We're almost half way into the season at our West Skyline Spring Count with nearly 5,000 raptors of 13 species counted, as well as over 7,000 non-raptors of 36 species. You can view all our count March updates on our Blog HERE or via our Facebook page. We also wanted to remind you to be sure to register for some or all of our Spring Migration Weekend coming up next weekend April 16-18th (Click HERE today!) You can register for the whole workshop or a la carte field trips or sessions. NOTE: Registration ENDS Wed. April 14th at 5pm. Happy Spring Migration!
 
West Skyline Hawk Count April Update
By Frank Nicoletti, Spring Count Director
 

Now that we are entering the beginning of April’s migration, this is the one time of year I set aside to study the various Red-tailed Hawks plumages and sub-species of this highly variable raptor. We have already seen 7 adult dark type, one gorgeous adult light Harlan’s with a gray grizzle tail, and a mostly white individual. We are also enjoying the other raptors moving through. The adult Rough-legged Hawk push is on as well, as well as the beginning of the Turkey Vulture and Sharp-shinned Hawk migration. See the count table HERE to view the totals to date.
 
There has also been a good movement of waterfowl, some White Pelican, Sandhill Cranes, Common Loons, and passerines. If you're interested in the non-raptor observations, you can also check out the eBird reports for both West Skyline Spring Count sites: Thompson Hill and Enger. We welcome you out to visit us at the count - for directions and more information, click HERE!
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
 
Spring Migration Weekend Workshop (register for full weekend or a la carte)
Starts Friday, April 16th (evening) - Sunday, April 18th (afternoon)
Registration Required - limited space for sessions/field trips 
*See cost & registration info below or CLICK HERE
 

Have you ever wondered about differences in spring migration versus fall? Do birds use the same route in the spring that they used in the fall? Do adult birds and immature birds travel at the same time? Can you age and sex a bird in flight? How does weather impact migration patterns? What is fallout- is there raptor fallout? This workshop will address all of these questions, as well as the overall science of spring bird migration, learning basic ID skills and counting essentials, natural history, current Hawk Ridge Research, and learning at one of the top spring raptor migration sites in the US, as well as the exploring the Duluth Harbor and St. Louis River area for migrants of all types!
 
Participants can choose to participate in the full weekend (8 sessions/field trips) at a discounted price - OR - choose activities you would like to attend and register a la carte. Workshop will be led by Margie Menzies, Hawk Ridge Education Director, and assisted at times by Hawk Ridge Count Staff/Volunteers (John Richardson, Frank Nicoletti, Erik Bruhnke, and other potential experts present during the time of the workshop sessions).
 
Cost: Members/MN Master Naturalists/Students $120 full workshop or a la carte $25/session or field trip; Nonmembers $200 or a la carte $35/session or field trip. Please note limited space is available. CLICK HERE for more info and registration! 
 
Raptorthon
Saturday, April 17th at West Skyline Spring Count (weather backup Sun. 4/18)
 

Spring has arrived and we're happy to be back counting all the migrating birds at the West Skyline Spring Count here in Duluth, MN! One of the ongoing events to mark this welcome of the spring migration is the annual Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) Raptorthon event. The goal of the Raptorthon is for teams throughout North America to count the maximum number of raptor species within a 24-hour period of time, which raises funds for HMANA and their hawkwatch they choose to support. The funds raised are split between the participant’s hawkwatch site of choice and HMANA.
 
Frank and the Spring Counters will be holding the Raptorthon in support of Hawk Ridge on Saturday, April 17th (weather backup date of Sun. 4/18). To help sponsor Frank & his team, on behalf of Hawk Ridge & HMANA, please make your pledge by visiting: https://www.hmana.org/raptorthon/ and clicking on Frank’s team. You can find more info and pledge your support for this event by clicking HERE.
 
Upcoming FREE Virtual Events (Donations Appreciated!)
 
Keeping Wildlife Wild
Tuesday, April 13th 7-8pm
FREE Virtual Public Program via Zoom (registration required, donations appreciated)
CLICK HERE for registration info
 

Spring has sprung, and it is the beginning of that magical season when lots of wildlife babies are born in the natural world. It's a time of wonder, but also a time full of challenges for these newborn young and their parents. Have you ever wondered what to do if you find a baby bird or injured animal? Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Duluth, MN specializes in helping wildlife with a little intervention when things go wrong, before returning wildlife back to the wild. Join Wildwoods Nursery Manager Valerie Slocum as she reveals what is involved in Wildlife Rehabilitation, and what to do and what not to do if you encounter wildlife that might need a helping hand. Learn how we can all work towards keeping our wildlife wild. After registering at above link, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
 
Pick a Bird Brain - Neotropical Migrants (Spring has Sprung - Part 2!) 
Tuesday, April 20th 7-8pm
FREE Virtual Public Program via Zoom (registration required, donations appreciated)
CLICK HERE for registration info
 

Last month we launched the spring migration discussion during the first part of Spring has Sprung, while concentrating primarily on raptor species. This month we continue to follow the spring migration and move on to a world of other birds who are also making significant progress, as they migrate north to their traditional breeding places. The woods are getting nosier every day! We'll find out who and what are our neotropical migrants, which birds win long distance prizes, and who are the shorter movers and shakers.


Join Hawk Ridge Staff John Richardson and Margie Menzies on April 20, 2021 from 7- 8pm CDT for this Pick A Bird Brain Session: Neotropical Migrants (Spring has Sprung - Part 2)! Cost: Free Virtual Program (Donations Appreciated - Click HERE to donate - thank you!). Registration is required - CLICK HERE for registration.

 
Hawk Weekend Festival
September 17-19, 2021 (More info coming soon!)


Come and celebrate the fall bird migration with us! Hawk Weekend is the annual festival held by the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth, MN. It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of North America’s best places to experience the fall bird migration at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. There will be a variety of field trips, hikes, programs, and activities for all ages. More info coming soon!
 
Education Programs for Groups
 
Live virtual programs or small in-person group education programs are being offered by Hawk Ridge. If you have a group that’s interested in learning more about the amazing migration phenomenon at Hawk Ridge, we would love to share fascinating stories, science, and beautiful birds with you virtually or in-person at our West Skyline Spring Count or even perhaps at an off-site venue/location! To find out more about offerings, please contact Margie Menzies, mmenzies@hawkridge.com or 218-428-8722, for booking your program.
Click HERE for virtual program offerings. 
 
Ways of Giving
 
Become A Member Today!

If you're already a member of Hawk Ridge, we sincerely appreciate your support! THANK YOU! If you're not a member and have enjoyed your experience with Hawk Ridge, we invite you to 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!

Support Hawk Ridge by Shopping!
If you missed out on one of our fun shirt designs from a past season at our merchandise trailer, you might be in luck. You can order some of our past designs like this adorable Northern Saw-whet Owl by Alexa Carson and it's shipped directly to you! Order online HERE!

Two more simple ways to raise money for Hawk Ridge are by using charitable online shopping options. 1) You can shop online at your favorite stores through GoodShop and Hawk Ridge earns cash back! 2) If you like to shop on Amazon, you can add Hawk Ridge as your charity you support via Amazon Smile and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory receives a donation of 0.5% of eligible purchases!

Simply Donate


You can always simply donate online by clicking HERE or by mailing a check made out to Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, P.O. Box 3006, Duluth, MN 55803

 P.S. If you missed any of our recent previous newsletters, you can find them HERE.

 Thank you again for your wonderful gift of support!


Sincerely,

Janelle Long
Executive Director
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
P.O. Box 3006
Duluth, MN 55803-3006
Call: 218-428-6209
Contact: mail@hawkridge.org
Visit: www.hawkridge.org
Non-Profit Organization

Federal Tax ID 76-0746366

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Hawk Ridge News - March 2021

 


Dear Hawk Ridge Friends,


The West Skyline Spring Count kicked off at the end of February and will run through the end of May. Over 3,100 raptors of 13 species and over 4,300 non-raptors of 26 species have been counted as of March 30th. You can view all our count March updates below. The bulk of the raptor count has been Bald Eagles, which we hold daily and season record counts for (1,026 in one day & 7,727 for the season in spring 2019). We are enjoying the sunshine, warmer weather, and great views of birds migrating and invite you out to view the migration with us! We also hope you can join us for our Spring Migration Workshop Weekend coming up April 16-18th (registration now open - CLICK HERE), which you can register for the whole weekend or a la carte field trips or sessions. Thank you for helping us and the birds continue to fly! YOU are appreciated!

Hawk Ridge West Skyline Spring Count Updates (March 2021)

March 30, 2021

Monday the 29th had a welcomed and unusual change of weather for March with sunshine and temps in the 60s compared to today with temps back in the 30s and strong gusty winds. A good showing of approximately 50 visitors came out to enjoy the migration with us yesterday (Monday) with 235 raptors counted compared to only 24 raptors today. The majority of raptors seen yesterday were Bald Eagles (147) and Red-tailed Hawks (73), but we did have a good diversity of other species: 1 Northern Harrier, 7 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Cooper's Hawks, 1 Red-shouldered, 2 Rough-legged, 1 Golden Eagle, and 1 American Kestrel. 

Be sure to register for our Spring Migration Weekend Workshop - find out more HERE!

March 27, 2021

The weather and flight conditions have been poor for migration the past few days at the West Skyline Spring Count. Little has moved since the big flight of Monday March 22. However, the weather conditions are changing tomorrow and Monday. We are anticipating Monday should see a good movement of raptors and non-raptors with warmer temperatures reaching 60 degrees and strong south winds predicted. We hope you can get out and grab your binoculars and join us for hopefully a spectacular day of migration at the West Skyline Spring Count (Enger count site)! Please note - the section of road (front of Hank Jensen Dr on West Skyline Dr) where the count is conducted is closed, so you’ll need to walk a short distance. Remember you can also follow us on Dunkadoo for up to the minute counts. https://dunkadoo.org/explore/hawk-ridge-bird-observatory/west-skyline-hawk-count-spring-2021

Frank Nicoletti
Spring Count Director

March 24, 2021

As predicted this past weekend plus Monday turned out to be the main push of the breeding core of adult Bald Eagles. These eagles pushed ahead of an approaching front that arrived late Monday night. These northern breeders will soon be in on territory and nesting. The three days (3/20-3/23) saw nearly 1200!! Saturday and Sunday saw lots of visitors and all were “WOWED” to a spectacular show - with many raptors close and low. Another highlight was a Northern Saw-whet Owl, which was found sleeping in a nearby tree. Many visitors got to see this as well.

We also saw a good flight of Golden Eagles,  including 26 on Monday afternoon. Monday’s weather in the morning was overcast and not looking good. At about 2:30 the conditions changed and over 600 raptors moved through! Eagles were seen low overhead in groups of 12-30 coming through in rivers along with scattered other raptors, including two adult Red-shouldered Hawks which are uncommon at this site.

Non-raptor movement was also good and included over 3000 Canada Geese and amongst them two Snow Geese, some Cackling, and White-fronted Geese. Some expected early waterfowl came in and Tundra Swans had a good showing of 150. The only passerine movement was our first push of American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds along with Common Grackles. A few Common Redpolls were noted moving and two flocks of Bohemian Waxwings.

I want to thank all who came out to enjoy the weekend migration with us and to those who helped, including Erik Bruhnke, Ralph Larsen, Hannah Toutonghi, John Richardson and Stephen Nelson.

See the table on right to view the daily totals or or view count live here: https://dunkadoo.org/explore/hawk-ridge-bird-observatory/west-skyline-hawk-count-spring-2021 Updates will follow and predicted flights will be posted to give all a chance to come out to view the migration through the end of May.

Thanks to Jason Heinen, Hannah T and Erik B for sharing there photos.

Frank Nicoletti - Spring Count Director

March 21, 2021

Good day yesterday as the first Robins showed up, 1,500-/+ Canada Geese in the morning and another decent push of eagles! The local pair of peregrines also put on a great show for all the hawkwatchers throughout the day!

March 18, 2021

The West Skyline Hawk Watch has been conducted since February 22 with 130 hours logged. The majority of the 1448 raptors counted have been Bald Eagles. This weekend is setting up to be a big flight for eagles and other early migrants with temperatures in the 50's, SSW winds 15-25mph and an approaching front coming late on Sunday. So if you are in the neighborhood, grab your binoculars and enjoy the magnificent spring migration. We have also recorded our first Sandhill Cranes of the season, along with Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese. There has also been a Townsend’s Solitaire and flocks of Bohemian Waxwings. I want to acknowledge the great crew of assistant counters who help me daily. I also want to thank Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optics for the generous donation of loaner binoculars for me to use this spring. Please note the City of Duluth will be closing off the front road to Enger Tower to vehicles starting Monday 3/22.  We are still able to conduct our Spring Count research, but others will need to walk/bike in for viewing/recreation.

Frank Nicoletti, Spring Count Director

WSHC totals:
Bald Eagle-1378
Northern Harrier-1
Cooper’s Hawk-2
Northern Goshawk-1
Red-tailed Hawk-8
Rough-legged Hawk-8
Golden Eagle-46
Merlin-1
American Kestrel-1

March 10, 2021


I’m grateful to scan the skies with my good friend and mentor, Frank Nicoletti. Yesterday we had a nice late day push of Golden Eagles and a first-of-the-season Merlin. On Monday we tallied 216 Bald Eagles migrating by as well as a few gorgeous Rough-legged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles too. Before we know it the whirlwinds of morning flight will be accompanying the raptor migration here in the northwoods! Here’s to savoring hawkwatching moments and enjoying the rich spectrum of visible migration to come. 

 https://dunkadoo.org/explore/hawk-ridge-bird-observatory/west-skyline-hawk-count-spring-2021

Erik Bruhnke
Spring Count Volunteer

March 5, 2021


The spring raptor count started on February 22 and will continue until the end of May. Mostly Bald Eagles have been moving so far with 297 counted. There have also been 7 Golden Eagles, 2 Cooper's Hawks and an adult dark Rough-legged Hawk. Weather is looking good for migration starting on Sunday 3/7 through Tuesday 3/9, ahead of an approaching front, and should provide us with our first triple digit flights. The count averages almost 30,000 raptors each spring. If interested in watching this spectacular flight, which occurs in west Duluth below Enger Tower or Thompson Hill, please check out our website at hawkridge.org for more information on the count and location. Hope to see you out there!

Frank Nicoletti
Spring Count Director

March 1, 2021


The Hawk Ridge West Skyline Spring Count is in action! It will run daily March 1-May 31 and you can view our live count by clicking on the link below. With warmer temps last week, eagles started moving and Frank already counted over 100 (80 Bald Eagles and 3 Golden Eagles were counted on 2/27!). We’re looking forward to sharing another great spring migration with you! https://dunkadoo.org/explore/hawk-ridge-bird-observatory/west-skyline-hawk-count-spring-2021


This count was started by Frank Nicoletti and conducted from 1997-2005 documenting an average of 26,000 raptors (comprised of 20 diurnal species with 4 being notable as rare & 1 owl species!). From 2006-2017, it ran primarily on a volunteer-basis, but thanks to a generous donation, we have been able to restart the count full-time March-May beginning in 2018 and continuing for at least 10 years. You can view the spring raptor count via HERE or the full live count HERE or from our home page at hawkridge.org. We invite you to come out and visit us 10am-2pm (weather-dependent)! Please see directions below.

Directions to the West Skyline Spring Count: 

IMPORTANT: Please note that the spring count takes place on WEST Skyline Parkway (at one of two sites depending on wind direction) vs our fall count site at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve on EAST Skyline Parkway. 

In S, SW, SE, N, NW or W winds: overlook below Enger Tower.
Continue past the Enger Golf Course on West Skyline Parkway to overlook pullout just below Enger Tower (marked with a sign, “Rice’s Point"). NOTE: The front portion of Hank Jensen Rd loop on West Skyline Parkway is closed off, so you will need to park along West Skyline or at the Twin Ponds parking area and walk in. If you don’t see anyone at the overlook with binoculars, try the Thompson Hill site or check our Facebook page.

In NE or E winds: overlook below Thompson Hill rest area.
Directions: From Hwy 35, take the Boundary Avenue exit (249) and cross to the north side of the freeway. Turn RIGHT onto West Skyline Parkway as if going to the Thompson Hill Rest Stop. Drive past the first rest stop entrance to the overlook directly below the rest stop (you’ll come to the second rest stop entrance if you go too far). If you don’t see anyone at the overlook with binoculars, try the Enger Tower site or check our Facebook page.

 More general information on both the fall and spring migration counts can be found HERE!



Friday, February 12, 2021

Hawk Ridge News December 2020


 

Dear Friends of Hawk Ridge,


We hope this letter finds you healthy and happy during this holiday season. This has been a rough year for all of us, but THANKS to our wonderful donors, awesome staff, and beautiful birds, we had a great year at Hawk Ridge. You can read the November count and banding reports below, as well as our highlights from 2020. If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation to help Hawk Ridge continue to do our best for the birds in 2021, 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 soon! 

November 2020 Banding and Count Reports

Raptor Banding Summary (Nov-Dec 2020)

Despite a warmer than average temperature in November, including a week stretch of 60’ and even two days in the low 70’s, we had a good November for banding raptors. Flights slowed down after the 18th but picked up slightly at the end of November, which prompted me to continue banding until the 9th December. Except for a period after the 18th, the weather was warm, but winds were consistently from a westerly component. Although Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawk flights had ended in the first half of November, and nearly all the Rough-legged seen afterward were adults, capture rates were low. However, Northern Goshawks kept us busy the remainder of November and December and were mostly adult birds.
Owl banding continued to push through November with nets closing on the 20th. No banding was attempted in December. We were somewhat surprised not to catch any Boreal Owls given the fact that Great Gray Owls started showing up in late October, including two observed in the banding station field. We were able to finally band one Great Gray on November 5th, which certainly was a highlight for the banding crew and others who got to see this amazing bird. It was a second-year male in good shape. Although we had a record year for Long-eared Owl, November numbers were modest with 20 banded with most coming in October.

A final report on the season will be written with more in depth details. Thanks for your continued support to the raptor banding project and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

The following were banded in November-December:

Northern Harrier-1

Sharp-shinned Hawk-4

Northern Goshawk-72

Red-tailed Hawk-10

Rough-legged Hawk-16

Northern Saw-whet Owl-123

Long-eared Owl-20

Barred Owl-4

Great Horned Owl-3

Great Gray Owl-1

Total Raptors-254

 Frank Nicoletti, Hawk Ridge Banding Director

November Bird Migration Count Summary

November marked the end of the Fall 2020 migration count, wrapping up a very memorable season here at Hawk Ridge! The month started strong with favorable winds and the flight continued relatively steadily with a few slow stretches towards the end. Unseasonably warm weather during the middle of November made the counters very happy but may have delayed the movement of some of the birds.

 


We counted a total of 2,152 raptors this month, with 1,039 Bald Eagles making up the majority. They were our most reliable raptor, with at least one or two counted despite adverse weather conditions. Even when no other birds were moving, Bald Eagles forged ahead in gale-force winds, sleet, and snow! The season total for Bald Eagles is 5,300 individuals.

Bald Eagles Sketched by Count Trainee Emma Regnier
 

The second most numerous species of the month was the Rough-legged Hawk, with 520 individuals counted. Last month’s record-setting single day count of 583 Roughies consisted of mostly juvenile birds, so we were anticipating a later push of adults. And, like clockwork, they arrived! The overwhelming majority of the Roughies counted in November were adults - a good mix of dark and light morphs, too. This time last fall, only 79 Roughies were counted in November and the 2019 season total was 158 individuals. This has been an exceptional year for Rough-legged Hawks with our season total for Roughies now at a staggering 1,948 individuals, far surpassing the previous season high at Hawk Ridge of 1,123 from 2017!!

In contrast to the abundance of Roughies this month, we were surprised by the lack of Red-tailed Hawks seen in November. While Red-tails are still one of the most prominent species of the month, we only counted 351 individuals. This monthly total is much lower than the 840 counted in November 2019. Similarly, the 2020 season total of 4,720 Red-tails is significantly lower than the 2019 season total of 6,734. Despite the lower numbers, we still enjoyed the incredible variation in the individuals we observed, including a handful of dark morphs and even one dark adult Harlan’s Hawk on November 16th!
November at Hawk Ridge is also well-known for the arrival of Northern Goshawks. On November 1, we counted 40 individuals and achieved our highest daily total for the season! With 26 more counted on November 2, and a steady stream throughout the rest of the month, our November total reached 141. An impressive proportion of the goshawks counted this month were adults, which is expected for late-fall, but still proved exciting when compared to the numbers of juveniles observed in the previous months. The season total of Northern Goshawks is 268.


The next most numerous raptors were Golden Eagles, with 70 birds counted in November. We had a few days of double-digit Goldens, but for the most part they trickled through in twos and threes. Nonetheless, it was always refreshing to spot a distant Golden circling with a group of Bald Eagles. Even though the number of Goldens this month seems down from last November, we still finished with a season total of 208 individuals (comparable to last year’s season total of 203). Guess the Goldens just got an earlier start to migration this year?

Not to be forgotten, there were a few other raptor species that helped to occasionally spice up the species diversity for the count. Some 21 late-season Sharp-shinned Hawks zipped through during November, as well as 5 Northern Harriers. On November 17th, one fashionably late adult Broad-winged Hawk circled the count platform, flanked by a pair of Rough-legged Hawks! No one expected to see a Broad-wing in mid-November, but that’s one of the beauties of hawkwatching - you never really know what each day might bring! We even counted one surprise Merlin on the final day of the 2020 season.

The raptors were not the only migrants of interest this month, as the late-season passerines continued to move through in steady numbers! Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, and Red Crossbill all made November appearances, and always brightened up the count with their charismatic vocalizations. It has been an exceptional year for winter finches, especially when compared to their notable absence last season. You can also look back at daily sightings of all species from this fall on the HRBO eBird account or via Dunkadoo and HawkCount.

And that is a wrap on the Fall 2020 migration! Thank you to everyone who joined us up on the ridge and helped make this season a success. We look forward to more migration in Spring 2021.

-Maggie Brown & Emma Regnier

Hawk Ridge Fall Count Trainees/November Counters

2020 Hawk Ridge Highlights

Here’s what your support helped us achieve in 2020. We couldn’t have done with without our amazing members and donors, like you! Thank you so much for continuing to partner with us! You’re the best!

Bird Migration Count Research – A “rough” year was had in more than one way – and this was a good way with record numbers of Rough-legged Hawks counted this fall! We broke both the daily & season high counts. Both spring and fall counts were able to be conducted this year with a total of 82,000 raptors of 17 different species and over 185,000 other migrating birds of over 170 species counted in 2020! Over 3.1 million raptors have been counted at Hawk Ridge since the standardized count started in fall 1972! We’ll be back in action for the Spring Count starting again on March 1st!


Bird Banding Research – Hawk Ridge is the largest raptor banding operation in the country and completed its 49th fall season! Over 4000 raptors (including 1900+ owls) were banded in fall 2020. Highlights included recaptured Eastern Screech Owl (banded as a first record at Hawk Ridge in 2018), banded Great Gray Owl & Golden Eagle, record season highs for Rough-legged Hawks & Long-eared Owls, and multiple research projects. We also continued passerine banding at Hawk Ridge, including the volunteer-led summer MAPS research project.


Education
– We created a safe set up to still connect with thousands of visitors this fall season in person at Hawk Ridge and virtually. We were able to teach a few small group education programs, hold some live bird demonstrations, and sell limited merchandise at Hawk Ridge and online (not surprising – Hawk Ridge masks were our #1 seller!). We look forward to continuing to share the wonder of  birds, migration, and our conservation work!

Stewardship & Volunteers – While we couldn’t have our regular volunteer program in operation this year, we still had several wonderful volunteers helping behind the scenes and at the Ridge. Volunteer projects included helping with office work, invasive species management, cleaning up the reserve (trails, litter), and working on site improvements.

Events – Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold our Hawk Weekend Festival and other events. We were able to hold a few virtual programs and we plan to hold more in 2021. We are also looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2022, so stay tuned for details on that!

Traineeship Program & Graduate Research –We taught 4 new research trainees professional field experience skills this fall within our count and banding program areas. We also worked with 4 University of MN Duluth grad students (including 2 former trainees) on their graduate research projects in collaboration with Hawk Ridge.  Hear from each our trainees below on the positive impact of their experience this fall!  

 

You can also find out more on how your gift can help Hawk Ridge soar by reading our booklet at https://www.hawkridge.org/support/donate/ or HERE. We are counting on your continued support!

2020 Hawk Ridge Trainees

Hawk Ridge was very fortunate to have 4 amazing trainees this fall season. Halle & Jessy trained with Frank and his crew at the banding station. Emma & Maggie trained with John & Nick at the count platform. We truly appreciated working with them and thank our wonderful lodging hosts for making this possible as well! Thank YOU!

Emma Regnier: "Hawk Ridge opened my eyes to the marvels of bird migration on a scale I’d never seen before. Thanks to the count traineeship, I gained invaluable experience in the technical aspects of conducting count research, such as identifying bird species in flight and tallying large numbers of birds as a team. Witnessing the ebb and flow of raptors and non-raptors over the course of the season, I felt personally connected to this spectacular migration and the greater Hawk Ridge community. Being a count trainee for Hawk Ridge strengthened my sense of self as an early career raptor researcher and fueled my ongoing fascination with bird migration. I truly feel that I came into my own as a hawkwatcher this season!"

 

Jessy Wilson: “I cannot say enough positive things about my experience at Hawk Ridge. The banding traineeship at HRBO spurred my love for raptor biology, and it has opened doors for me that I would not have thought to be possible otherwise. The knowledge and skills I have learned while here will have lasting impacts in all my career ventures moving forward. I am immensely grateful to have been part of this program, and I am excited for the future trainees that Hawk Ridge will continue to impact. My highlights from this season include catching the first great gray owl in over a decade with my fellow trainee Halle, and catching goshawks with Frank!” 

Maggie Brown: “It has been an incredible privilege to work as a member of the HRBO team this fall and witness the spectacular migration of birds through Duluth. As a Count Trainee, I quickly fell in love with the views from the ridge, the rhythm of the migration, the unpredictability of each day, and of course, the bird themselves. This opportunity has shown me the true value of teamwork across all HRBO programs and has certainly helped me grow more confident in my identification of raptors and non-raptors alike. While it is impossible to pick just one favorite moment from this fall, my most memorable season highlights include the peak days of Broad-winged Hawk migration in mid-September, the record-breaking Rough-legged Hawk flights in October, and getting to watch adult Northern Goshawks barrel towards the banding station in November! I will treasure these memories and am eager to carry the lessons I have learned here at Hawk Ridge into my future endeavors.”


Halle Lambeau: “What I enjoyed most about the banding traineeship was the amazing variety of species and methods that I was fortunate to learn about as well as the wonderful support I received from the HRBO staff, volunteers, researchers, and my fellow trainees.” 

 

 

 

 

2020 Hawk Ridge Limited Edition Merchandise

Hawk Ridge Limited Edition 2020 Online Merchandise Campaign (Still Available for Purchase!)

In case you missed our launch in November, we still have our unique 2020 merchandise still available for purchase. We have 2 new fantastic designs we're excited to share with you! They're available in a wide variety of shirts and masks available online only for a limited time! All proceeds from sales go to support the bird conservation research and education efforts of Hawk Ridge!

Now is your chance to purchase limited edition "Corvid vs. Covid" merchandise (shirts & masks), while supporting 2 good causes (Hawk Ridge research & education and to help protect yourself/others from Covid)! Local artist and former Hawk Ridge Owl Bander, Annmarie Geniusz, is well known for her fun, creative spin on creatures of all kinds and created this one-of-a-kind design for Hawk Ridge!

Commemorate the record-breaking Rough-legged Hawk count at Hawk Ridge fall of 2020 with limited edition "2020 - A Rough Year" merchandise (shirts & masks). We all know 2020 has been a "Rough" year! This beautiful photo of a Rough-legged Hawk was taken by Jason Heinen, Hawk Ridge Naturalist.

 Click HERE to get to our online store!

Upcoming Events

Hawk Ridge has several upcoming virtual programs and workshops. Please click HERE for more info or go to our “Events” link on our home website at hawkridge.org. If you’re interested in scheduling a custom virtual program for a group, please click HERE for more info or contact Margie Menzies at mmenzies@hawkridge.org or (218) 428-8722.

WAYS OF GIVING

Hawk Ridge thanks each of you for believing in and supporting the work we do for the protection of birds. Every gift is much appreciated!

Charitable Giving Options

Charitable Giving Incentives Under the the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) means there are continued increased tax incentives for charitable giving. If you itemize your taxes, the AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) limit for charitable cash contributions has increased from 60 percent to 100 percent deducted. IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions can also be applied. If you don't itemize your taxes, the CARES Act allows for an additional "above the line" deduction for up to $300 per tax return in 2020 (or up to $600 for joint filers in 2021) for cash gifts made to charities, like Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Donors should consult with their tax/legal advisor for questions on charitable giving incentives. Please contact Executive Director, Janelle Long, if you have questions on gifts of stock or other securities. 

Become A Member Today!

If you're already a member of Hawk Ridge, we sincerely appreciate your support! THANK YOU! If you're not a member and have enjoyed your experience with Hawk Ridge, we invite you to 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!

Support Hawk Ridge by Shopping!

If you missed out on one of our fun shirt designs from a past season at our merchandise trailer, you might be in luck. You can order some of our past designs like this adorable Northern Saw-whet Owl by Alexa Carson and it's shipped directly to you! Order online HERE!

Two more simple ways to raise money for Hawk Ridge are by using charitable online shopping options. 1) You can shop online at your favorite stores through GoodShop and Hawk Ridge earns cash back! 2) If you like to shop on Amazon, you can add Hawk Ridge as your charity you support via Amazon Smile and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory receives a donation of 0.5% of eligible purchases!


Simply Donate

You can always simply donate online by clicking HERE or by mailing a check made out to Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, P.O. Box 3006, Duluth, MN 55803

P.S. If you missed any of our recent previous newsletters, you can find them HERE.

Thank YOU and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Janelle Long

Executive Director

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

 

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

P.O. Box 3006

Duluth, MN 55803-3006 

218-428-6209 

mail@hawkridge.org

hawkridge.org

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 Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with mission to protect birds of prey and other migratory birds in the Western Lake Superior Region through research, education, and stewardship.