The Cut Bank Hawkwatch was studied for its second full season in 2019, thanks to generous support from HMANA, the Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Society, the Glacier County Conservation District, and numerous individuals. Logistical support was provided by HawkWatch International. Forrest English counted the flight with key assistance from Andrew Burmester, Dan Stoken, Kate Atkins, and visits from Beth Hill and the gang from Great Falls. We were delighted that Dan Casey (Jewel Basin Hawk Watch) counted a full day for us in September, pulling in a diverse buteo and eagle flight of 43 birds. Thanks also to Sasha Auer for the amazing Rough-legged Hawk shirt designs and sales support.
From September 1 through November 15, counters occupied the site on 69 days (12 more days than 2018), for a total of 431.51 (2018: 330 hours) – an increased effort over the 2018 season. The average outing was 6.3 hours. This effort yielded a season total of 859 migrants of 17 identifiable species. Thanks to our many donors, counting commenced on September 1, two weeks earlier than the 2018 season. Accordingly, all-time high counts of Swainson’s Hawks (142) and Ferruginous Hawks (58) were recorded. The last Swainson’s Hawk of the season was observed on 9 October, while Ferruginous Hawks continued through 1 November. During our focus month of October, 201.1 hours were observed overall, at 7.2 hours per day on average. Rough-legged Hawk numbers came in a lower than in previous years, at 156 birds (for 2016: 236, 2017: 271, 2018: 243). The standout day of the season was 15 October, with the single-day high count of Rough-legged Hawks at 39 birds, and an overall tally of 95 birds. Also of note this year were 10 total Northern Goshawks.
The final count was 1 Turkey Vulture, 4 Osprey, 36 Bald Eagles, 47 Northern Harriers, 52 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 10 Cooper’s Hawks, 10 Northern Goshawk, 4 Broad-winged Hawks, 205 Red-tailed Hawks, 156 Rough-legged Hawks, 142 Swainson’s Hawks, 58 Ferruginous Hawks, 75 Golden Eagles, 7 American Kestrels, 7 Merlin, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 5 Prairie Falcons, 0 Gyrfalcon, 8 Unknown Accipiters, 21 Unknown Buteos, 1 Unknown Eagle, 3 Unknown Falcons, and 6 Unknown Raptors.