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Well, where did that go!!?

Today was the last day of counting for the 2020 spring migration.

Firstly, a huge thanks to Frank Nicoletti who stood there counting from March 1st thru May 31st. Some of those days weather-wise were brutally cold and windy, but it takes more then a sustained 35mph East wind to keep ole’ Frankie away from counting!!

Also, a very special thank you to Ralph Larson, Dave Carmen & John Edwards who also came out and gave up their time to help count, spot, and feed the counters!! Your help, kindness and company did not go unnoticed.

So, how did we far with the birds? Naturally, the lake is often the determining factor as what we see and what we don’t. It really was a year of consistent NE and Easterly winds, so it was evident numbers would be down as birds go around us.

Nevertheless, this is Hawk Ridge and being such a magical place magic always happens. Everyday we were fortunate to be there witnessing migration of these amazing birds.

Here are the numbers:-

Turkey Vulture:- 2,584
Osprey:- 167
Bald Eagle:- 4,744
Northern Harrier:- 55
Sharp-shinned Hawk:- 1,859
Cooper’s Hawk:- 40
Northern Goshawk:- 4
Red-shouldered Hawk:- 3
Broad-winged Hawk:- 6,393
Red-tailed Hawk:- 2,871
Rough-legged Hawk:- 213
Swainson’s Hawk:- 5
Golden Eagle:- 171
American Kestrel:- 50
Merlin:- 31
Peregrine Falcon:- 23

We were sad and sorry we did not see a lot of new and familiar faces due to the pandemic, but we hope to see you all soon. The Fall count is one 2.5 months away!!!

Photos from today!
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This spring season has not provided much opportunity for great photos or videos due to either lack of seeing birds and/or high flight due to northerly winds.

As you all know we don’t just count the raptors, we count all birds. One unique species we see passing through is the Bonaparte’s Gull.

These gulls are unique for their nesting habits, which involves them nesting in coniferous trees in the boreal forests of Canada and the only gull in the world to do so.

They pass through this region in large flocks numbering in the hundreds and stop to refuel and rest around the Great Lakes. Bonaparte‘s Gulls are incredibly agile and often put on some amazing aerial displays around the harbor. Now is the time to see them!

By the way, this species is named after Nepoleon Bonaparte’s nephew not the French Emperor himself. His nephew Charles was a keen ornithologist and spent 8 years in the United States working on taxonomy and nomenclature of bird species here.
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