Hawks moving over Hawk Ridge as count begins

A broad-winged hawk squawks while being held after banding and before its release at Hawk Ridge in 2006. (News Tribune file)

The raptors are moving.

The fall hawk count at Duluth’s Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory began Sunday. With strong westerly winds, favorable for counting at Hawk Ridge, official counter Karl Bardon has been seeing a few birds already.

A total of 26 raptors were counted on Sunday, and another 43 passed over Hawk Ridge on Monday. Sunday’s total was led by broad-winged hawks (7), ospreys (7) and northern harriers (7). On Monday, 10 broadwings and 12 northern harriers led the way.

This time of year, only Bardon is at the ridge counting. Starting Sept. 1, visitor services and education staff will be on hand to offer more information about what’s happening. They’ll all be at the main overlook, about one mile east of Glenwood Street on Skyline Parkway.

Typically, more than 90,000 hawks, most of them broadwings, pass over Hawk Ridge each fall. Best days are those with a westerly component to the wind, and best hours are from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, go to the Hawk Ridge website.

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