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Red-tails into the Buteo Mix

October 25, 2011

By Rafael A. Gálvez

It was a great day for Buteos at FKH; all 5 species were present including 2 Red-tailed Hawks! FKH typically averages roughly 1 Red-tail every 3 years, however today’s birds add up to 3 total for that species so far this season; this is a new seasonal high.

After a few days of reluctant migrants, particularly foraging Kestrels and Accipiters, it was great to have a day of “no-nonsense” migration,  with few back-trackers or localized foragers. The Broad-wings however, seemed to have stalled. We’ve had the same kettle of about 160+ birds of that species lingering in the area for the last couple of days. Our total of 458 “southbound” birds today included:

Osprey – 6
Northern Harrier – 27
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 158
Cooper’s Hawk – 71
Short-tailed Hawk – 5
Red-shouldered Hawk – 11
Red-tailed Hawk2
Swainson’s Hawk – 31 (in a single kettle!)
American Kestrel – 112
Merlin – 12
Peregrine Falcon – 23

Other observed raptors exhibiting non-migratory behavior:
Broad-winged Hawk – a kettle of roughly 167 birds remained in the area throughout the day
Turkey Vulture

It was a nice quiet day this Tuesday, with few visitors and no other official counters. We had a visit late in the afternoon from Eric Pineiro, from Titusville, who is on his way to the Dry Tortugas. Eric will be helping us with the hawkwatch later this week.

We recently said our goodbyes to 2 great friends of the project – Colleen and Charles Caudill (above). They dedicated a tremendous amount of time to the hawkwatch and proved time and again to be fantastic counters. They shared with us excellent days of hawkwatching for nearly 2 weeks, as they camped at Curry Hammock. We will miss their attentiveness, their focus and positive spirit, the excellent conversations, and most of all their presence at the deck. We hope Charles and Colleen a great time in the Everglades – their next adventure – and a safe trip back home. They promised they will be back next year, and we are holding them to their word!

The photos from the composite above were taken by Steve Tryon, from Tampa, who joined the project for a few days. We are very grateful for Steve’s time and interest in the project, and for the treasure-trove of photos he took and shared with us. We hope him the best and that he will return to FKH in the future. Photo below, at the FKH deck, left to right: Jim Eager, Steve Tryon, Rafael Galvez.

If you think you can identify all or any of the birds featured in the composite above, please leave a comment!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle Davis permalink
    October 28, 2011 7:55 pm

    Great volunteers just can’t be beat!

  2. Jeff Bouton permalink
    October 29, 2011 7:56 am

    yeah if you beat them they won’t come back! ;p

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