By Kim Scotto
Howdy, nature lovers!
Have you ever been bird watching before? Can you imagine doing it almost every day for 3 months? That’s exactly what Kelley Nunn, the Delaware Nature Society’s Hawk Watch Coordinator, does! The Ashland Nature Center’s Hawk Watch program is one of about 250 hawk watches in North America, and we got to talk to Kelley and find out what it’s all about!
So Kelley, what exactly is a Hawk Watch?
The Hawk Watch is exactly that- watching hawks and other raptors! As the weather gets colder there is less food available for these predatory birds, so in the months of September, October, and November, many raptors make the long flight south to spend the winter. This movement south is called migration. It’s important for scientists to know where, when, why and how the birds migrate. So my job is to count the species and number of individuals we see traveling past Hawk Watch Hill at Ashland.
What other kinds of data do you collect at Hawk Watch?
We look at the height of flight of the birds for important wind turbine studies. We also measure the temperature, wind speed, and cloud coverage on an hourly basis. Each species of raptor has its own ideal flying conditions, so during the warmer months like September, we will see different types of birds than in mid-November!
So what type of raptors are we most likely to see this time of year?
In November you’re going to see Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, and Bald Eagles. You also might see Northern Goshawks, Rough-legged Hawks, or even Golden Eagles!
How can kids get involved?
Kids can come to the Hawk Watch daily between 9AM and 4PM to learn about birding! No experience is necessary, and Ashland can provide binoculars. I think it’s really great for kids to get into birding. Bring a picnic lunch and your family (dogs more than welcome!) and spend an afternoon being a citizen scientist!
Ashland’s Hawk Watch runs daily until November 30th, from 9AM-4PM.
Meet Kelley and learn more about these fascinating migratory birds!