Thursday, September 19, 2013

2013 Hawk Weekend at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

By Cory Ritter

HRBO's annual Hawk Weekend Festival runs during the third full weekend in September, so it starts tomorrow (Friday, September 20th) and runs through Sunday. Since September started on a Sunday this year, the September 20th start date is the latest since 2002. I've been worried that the festival may be a little too late to catch the Broad-wing migration, so I looked into the data for the past ten years to see what we can expect for this weekend.

Over the last ten years (1993-2012), seven of the biggest days came on September 14th (4) and September 15th (3). Another came on September 16th, making the middle of the month the most likely to see the big day. The final two big days were outliers, one on September 20, 2006 and one on September 9, 2012.

During this time, there have been 53 days with over one thousand Broad-winged Hawks counted from the Ridge—averaging 5.3 days with over one thousand Broad-wings per season. Of those 53 days, 16 (30.2%) were on or after September 20th.

With that being said, September 20th is a bit late in the season for the Broad-winged Hawk peak, but they have peaked this late in the past. Also, we have only had two 1,000+ Broad-wing days this season—against an average of 5.3. Furthermore, we have had a week of unfavorable winds from the south or east and a couple days of fog and rain. This weather is supposed to clear out for the weekend, and leave us with favorable west or northwest winds—just in time for Hawk Weekend.

With the good weather headed our way and a history of some big Broad-wing days around this time of the season, this weekend looks like it is shaping up to be a good one! Here are some birds that are coming through right now, and you can expect to see them at the Ridge this weekend.
Broad-winged Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory
Broad-winged Hawk, 16 September 2013
Sharp-shinned Hawk Duluth Minnesota
Sharp-shinned Hawk, 11 September 2013
Palm Warbler Hawk Ridge
Palm Warbler, 12 September 2013
Merlin Duluth Minnesota
Merlin, 16 September 2013
American Kestrel Hawk Ridge
American Kestrel, 13 September 2013
Canada Goose Duluth Minnesota
Canada Goose, 11 September 2013
American Kestrel Duluth Minnesota
American Kestrel, 13 September 2013
Broad-winged Hawk Ridge
Broad-winged Hawk, 13 September 2013
Merlin Duluth Minnesota
Merlin, 11 September 2013
American Kestrel Hawk Ridge Minnesota
American Kestrel, 17 September 2013
American White Pelicans Duluth Hawk Ridge
American White Pelicans, 16 September 2013
American Kestrel Minnesota Hawk Ridge
American Kestrel, 17 September  2013
All photos were taken at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, St. Louis County, Minnesota.

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