Grand Canyon: High Winds and Hawks

17 October 2016

Text and photos by Casey Weissburg and Kumara MacLeod

This strange and blustery season does not cease to surprise us! As winds intensify, the hawks keep coming. Thursday put to rest our fear of falling short of the historic average with a late season push of over 300 raptors and the breaking of our site's Northern Harrier record! We are currently at 62 and they don't seem to want to quit.

We had been wondering where all the Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks were and now we know! Those poor creatures must have been holding out for better days, only to give up and try their luck as wind speeds reach above 46 kph. On our windiest days we are still seeing a steady stream of tiny male Sharp-shinned torpedoes shoot up from below the cliffs as they make the most of winds swirling around our little peninsula.

Wednesday was a spectacular day for Red-tailed Hawks with the day's count reaching 80 individuals including a kettle of 4 dark morphs.

This year is also proving to be an excellent year for Merlins as we creep up on our site's record of 22. Today we saw our 16th Merlin and have had at least one a day for several days in a row. These feisty little falcons have even given us a show of snatching at insects on the wing mid-migration through the canyon!

We will be braving another day of high winds on Monday, and looking foreword to calm and sunny days during the following days. Come join us before the cold sets in!

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