Just a quick heads-up. More than 5,000 raptors were counted at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory on Monday, according to Debbie Waters, education director at Hawk Ridge. That’s by far the largest count of the fall season. I didn’t get details of the account, but it’s safe to guess many of the hawks were broad-winged hawks or sharp-shins. Also, the first goshawk of the fall migration was observed Monday.
Strong westerly winds and good thermals made it a good day. Waters expects tomorrow to be even better, as west winds are forecast again.
West winds often make for good migration days at Hawk Ridge. The westerly winds push migrating hawks east, toward Lake Superior. Because the lake is cool and the birds have trouble getting lift over the cool water, they avoid flying over the lake. So, they follow the North Shore as far as Duluth — and Hawk Ridge — where they can clear the end of the lake and continue on south.
Prime hours for hawk-watching are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the warmest part of the day. If you have a chance Tuesday, swing by the ridge and see what’s happening. The main overlook is about 1 mile east of Glenwood Street on Skyline Parkway.
For more information, check out the Hawk Ridge website here.