Manzanos: The Peak is Still to Come

04 October 2017
Banded hatch-year Sharp-shinned Hawk Banded hatch-year Sharp-shinned Hawk

Text by Tucker Davidson

Migration has really been taking off as we’ve recorded almost a thousand birds in just the past week. Our biggest day of the season so far has been 229 migrants from Obs and 44 Accipiters in hand. Our current count as of 9/25 is 2,276 raptors (almost as much as last year’s total). We’ve been fortunate enough to see Broad-winged Hawks trailing through one-by-one fairly consistently, more Zone-tailed Hawks posing as Turkey Vultures, and large kettles of afternoon Swainson’s Hawks thermaling southbound. This pre-peak push of raptors has coincided perfectly with the changing fall foliage and crisp, yet warm early autumn days to make being up on Obs just spectacular.

The local birders and naturalists have also taken advantage of these gorgeous days to join us up on the mountain and marvel at the beauty of the Manzanos. Some notable groups from the past week include a spry group of friends from the Albuquerque YMCA, an eager-to-learn group of birders from the Rio Grande Nature Center, and a high-energy group of young scouts from Troop 211. We’ve also had some wonderful visits with old friends and new ones up on the mountain as Albuquerque attracts crowds of wildlife biologists from around the country attending annual conferences this week. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to host all of these visitors without the help of our dedicated volunteers scanning the skies on busy days and providing warm meals in the evening.

So come on up to the mountain and witness one of nature’s most thrilling spectacles as hawks pour south against a backdrop of green, orange, yellow, and red. The peak is still to come.

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