Huh.

Wonders never cease. This essential thing, there is always something new to learn, is one of the things that keeps me walking out the door and right back out observing the natural world over and over again. And while it is our friend Arthur who is standing in that space at the CBHW, in this time, drinking in what there is to learn, I can at least make tables at a distance and wonder as well – and wonders never cease!

What started as a thing that seemed interesting because of rough-legged hawks is simply revealing what is interesting about that thing for what it is, which is, through September 30, 2021, this:

Species202120202019201820172016
Turkey Vulture201100
Osprey2324420
Golden Eagle31975823812
Bald Eagle29193649647
Northern Harrier92104774509
Sharp-shinned Hawk84752753113
Cooper’s Hawk221102561
Northern Goshawk2010112
Broad-winged Hawk37041170
Swainson’s Hawk1073714263810
Red-tailed Hawk1083420520014544
Rough-legged Hawk038156243271236
Ferruginous Hawk6255822482
American Kestrel84272991
Merlin133719183
Gyrfalcon000100
Peregrine Falcon101130
Prairie Falcon42523208
Unknown Eagle001212
Unknown Raptor1162951
Unknown Accipiter1081400
Unknown Falcon003110
Unknown Buteo2521202611
Total1643155859989827352
Effort (hours)358.7558.5431.523309934.75
Dates8/15-9/309/12-10/319/1-11/159/15-11/128/25-11/199/7-11/2

A glaring highlight here is obviously the Swainson’s hawk flight (clear evidence that starting August 15 to better capture this flight was well worth it), but there are little tidbits of interesting across the board.

We’re delighted to have a seasoned counter well-versed in the raptor ecology of the immediate area who we were super lucky to drop on the coulee for the season, and this certainly is a contributing factor to how the 2021 column is stacking up, but don’t let the overall larger numbers distract from the play here with (1) starting earlier and (2) annual variability and (3) things we just don’t yet know. The project is young for a hawkwatch, and the practice of open country hawk migration observation is also young.

I’m going to just let these numbers simmer out here and let it play…

Enjoy October and may your wonders never cease!

– Kate

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