Text by Ceeanna Zulla and Scott Shively
Things are gradually starting to pick up here at Bonney Butte HawkWatch. We had our biggest day so far on Tuesday, September 20th with 98 birds. Turkey Vultures galore (49 migrants) followed by 29 Sharp-shinned Hawks and our first sighting of a Broad-winged Hawk this season! The highlight captures of the past few weeks include two immature Northern Goshawks and an after hatch-year Cooper’s Hawk that provided a great molting example to our visitors, see below for photo.
With the increase of migrating birds comes the influx of visitors. It’s been great seeing some new faces along with some returning raptor enthusiasts. One in particular is our good friend and long-time Bonney supporter, Tom Jordan. Tom has been paying visits to the Butte since the early 80’s. With a family of falconers, Tom has been interested in hawks since the age of six and throughout the years has visited most of the major hawk counting sites around the country. He’s become the king of the valley here at Bonney Butte, able to detect and identify all the low soaring raptors sneaking by in the White River valley. The help of Tom and all of our supporters and volunteers is integral to the success of the site and we are always grateful to have them around! See below for a video of Tom releasing an immature Red-tailed Hawk at our observation site.
It’s really starting to feel like fall up here on the Butte and we’re hopeful that migration will continue to pick up. This weekend will be an especially exciting one with some group visits by our friends at Portland Audubon, and the legend himself, Jerry Liguori. Visitors should make the time to hike on up and learn form the best their is when it comes to raptor identification! And of course, we encourage you to come visit and hawk watch with us anytime throughout the season.