2nd annual International Hawk Migration Week

06 October 2015 Published in Press Center

HawkWatch International is a partner of HMANA, Hawkcount.org, and International Hawk Migration Week. Read the press release below for the summary of the second annual IHMW.

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Press Release

Over One Million Migrating Hawks Counted during International Hawk Migration Week

October 6, 2015, Hancock, NH - The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) celebrated its second annual International Hawk Migration Week (IHMW) September 19-27, 2015 by tallying over 1.3 million migrating hawks, eagles and vultures at over 100 sites throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Each year hundreds of thousands of hawks, eagles and vultures make their journey from Canada and the United States through Mexico to wintering areas as far as South America. Dedicated counters at hawk watch sites document this movement starting as early as August 1 and continuing daily into December. Their daily numbers are reported to HMANA’s online database, HawkCount.org. This particular week in late September was chosen due to the sheer number of hawks that are counted across North America.

One hundred two watch sites from 31 states and provinces across the continent counted an astounding 1,370,005 raptors during September 19-27. Thirty species were tallied, the vast majority being Broad-winged Hawks (1,304,132) - since IHMW took place during their peak migration. Other high counts included 23,244 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 6,659 Turkey Vultures, 6,182 Mississippi Kites, 5,696 American Kestrels and 3,661 Osprey.

In addition to submitting their daily migration counts to HMANA’s HawkCount.org database, sites celebrated across the map with hawk watching festivals, identification workshops and live bird of prey events. HMANA provided banners to participating watch sites in the monitoring network. Rich Conroy, site coordinator at Militia Hill Hawk Watch in PA, said: “We are thrilled to participate in IHMW as it draws attention to the network of sites reporting numbers throughout North America. I feel connected to migration on a larger scale and it is a wonderful opportunity to let visitors to our site know about the migration happening around them.”

Raptors tend to follow topographic features during fall migration such as north to south running ridgelines, coastlines and river valleys. A funneling effect compresses their paths as they approach the southern U.S. The majority of hawks choose to avoid long water crossings so they are squeezed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and on through Mexico. This is why watch sites in Veracruz, Mexico, counted more than any other at 775,037 raptors during the week. Corpus Christi, TX, located on the U.S. Gulf coast tallied 267,395 raptors. Other counts across the continent included 53,341
at the Detroit River Hawk Watch, MI; 23,807 at Hawk Ridge, MN; 8397 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area, ON, and 949 at the Florida Keys Hawk Watch, FL.

About HMANA
HMANA (www.hmana.org) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance scientific knowledge and promote conservation of raptor populations through the study, enjoyment and appreciation of raptor migration. It oversees the online database, Hawkcount.org, an archive of count data with a wealth of information for birdwatchers and the general public alike, including maps and directions to sites, average counts, population status and migration timing by species.

HMANA partners with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary PA (www.hawkmountain.org), Hawk Watch International (based in Utah: www.hawkwatch.org), and Bird Studies Canada (in Ontario: www.bsc-eoc.org) in the Raptor Population Index program, which aims to track changes in hawk populations for conservation purposes.

For directions and contact information for hawk watch sites near you, visit www.hawkcount.org.

National/International HMANA contact
Julie Brown
HMANA Monitoring Site Coordinator
151 Antrim Rd
Hancock, NH 03449
781-264-0778

Other Contacts:
Steven Price
President Bird Studies Canada/ Études d’Oiseaux Canada
www.birdscanada.org

Office: 519 586 3531, ext. 116
Mobile: 647 528 3531

Rich Conroy
Militia Hill Hawk Watch, PA
HMANA board member
215-480-9116

Dave Oleyar,
Ph.D Senior Scientist, Hawk Watch International
2240 South 900 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
(801) 484-6808 x109