Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Duluth Hawk Counting - April 5, 2011

The conditions for counting raptors today in Duluth could not have been more pleasant for raptor-viewing, and were very encouraging to raptors just urging to head north. Today's flight was spectacular; a total of 300 raptors were counted today!

Red-tailed Hawks were the most commonly-observed raptor today. Of the 158 Red-tailed Hawks observed today, three were dark morphs! Today I got to observe the largest kettle of Red-tailed Hawks I've ever seen... A total of 18 Red-tailed Hawks were soaring upwards in a single kettle - two Bald Eagles were mixed in there too. A "kettle" is a migrating group of raptors which is riding a thermal/set of thermals higher and higher. It was so cool to see the groups Red-tailed Hawks migrating up high. I have many pictures taken today during the count, however they'll have a to come in a day or so :-) It's getting late, and I have to be up early for another action-packed day of hawk counting!

I wanted to let you know that today I observed several other new migrants to the area: A single Lapland Longspur gave bubbly trills and the chew-note call as it flew north, as well as observing a Killdeer, 2 Common Grackles. In the early afternoon today, a lone, high-flying Sandhill Crane flew by!

In case you're interested in seeing more about the day's count details, the link below has what you're looking for :-)


  1. Nice report, kettles are always fun. Reminds me of Whitefish Point in the 70's and ealy 80's when I would get up there every spring from the Ann Arbor area, (Chelsea), where I lived at the time.

  2. Thanks, Wes; and awesome... Sounds gorgeous, comfortable, and thrilling with all of the birds! I hope to visit Whitefish Point someday :-)