Mid-September Migration

September 14, 2013 Leave your thoughts
Mid-September is here, and the migrating birds are really coming through! As a count interpreter at Hawk Ridge, nothing thrills me more than pointing out the migrating birds to people visiting the main overlook.  Each and every bird is amazing in its own way. Some birds are meandering throughout the continent, locally, and many others are on long-distance journeys that are sending them across a wide variety of “worlds” that would test even the fittest humans.
The recent frosts just north of Duluthwill shock many of the insects that are throughout the northwoods. Although many songbirds, especially warblers, have been coming through in large numbers, many more of these beautiful birds will soon be migrating right down the North Shore in the direction of Hawk Ridge. Food availability is a key factor that can spark migration in many species. Although seen in considerably low numbers this year, we are still seeing many dragonflies migrating past Hawk Ridge. With these dragonflies comes many American Kestrels (adult male, shown here). American Kestrels’ migration is timed very closely to the peak of the migration of dragonflies. Dragonflies are an important food source for American Kestrels!
This weekend’s anticipated weather looks fantastic for some fun flights of raptors to pour through. Saturday will be a mostly-sunny day, with variable light winds. Although there is a slight chance of light rain Saturday night into Sunday, the forecast for Sunday looks partly sunny with gusty northeast winds. Expect two things on Sunday… birds to be relatively easy-viewing with the naked eye, as these birds fly among blue-and-white-dazzled skies, and expect the birds to be flying by with minimal. Northeastern winds provide migrating raptors along the North Shore with a tailwind, and from the largest eagles to the smallest accipiters, many raptors may be seen flying through in bullet-like fashion. There will be a drop in temperature starting this weekend, and cold snaps can often initiate a push of raptors to move through the area, in addition to the previously-mentioned songbirds.

A special treat today was seeing a juvenile Northern Goshawk migrating by, at a slight distance away. Here is a juvenile Northern Goshawk migrating by from a few years ago.

See you at the ridge this weekend! Get ready for some kettles of Broad-winged Hawks… They’ll be gone before we know it!

Erik Bruhnke
Hawk Ridge count interpreter

Posted by Karl Bardon

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