Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Hawk Ridge Counts ALL Birds

Fall migration at Hawk Ridge will provide sightings of a variety of birds ranging from Cedar Waxwings to Merlins (photos by Paul Konrad).
Find out if there is a hawkwatch location near you and plan a visit – it may become an annual fall pilgrimage, as it is for many birders.

It’s exciting to monitor the migration numbers and species diversity of raptors passing by hawk count sites, but some sites provide a total look at ALL birds migrating through a particular migration funnel point – and the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory at Duluth may be leading the way in that arena, counting every bird of every species, and posting all sightings in real time online so you can imagine the pulse of fall migration passing by. Raptors can dominate counts some days, like the 9,162 Broad-winged Hawks that passed by last Thursday, but so can Blue Jays, Canada Geese, Cedar Waxwings, and a variety of warbler species.

Birders interested in statistics can see migration data ranging from hourly graphs to pie charts to minute by minute and day by day species counts. The pros in Duluth, Minnesota have a great system in place to provide information and insights – and their annual Hawk Migration Weekend is coming up September 17 through the 19, which attracts birders and interested people from near and far.

Hawk Ridge is located along the prominent ridge line overlooking the southwest point of Lake Superior, and as birds migrate south they are funneled along the north shore of the largest of the Great Lakes, not wanting to cross the huge expanse of water. This creates a mecca for people to view migration first hand throughout the fall season from August to November, and for biologists to count all the birds that pass by throughout the fall.

Broad-winged Hawk migration will peak this week, with counts soaring into tens of thousands some days, while Sharp-shinned Hawks are common along with a range of raptors that is passing by. At the same time Blue Jays, robins, waxwings, swallows, nighthawks, and more than 1,000 warblers per hour are observed some hours; and if you’re lucky, a Northern Goshawk will make a flyby – that’s a cherished bird to see, and Hawk Ridge is one of the best locations to get to see one.

To enjoy a remote migration experience at Hawk Ridge, you can visit

And for information about the annual Hawk Migration Weekend, see

To access daily, monthly, and annual migration data for all raptor migration count sites across North America, you will want to regularly visit

provided by the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

Find out if there is a hawkwatch location near you and plan a visit – it may become an annual fall pilgrimage, as it is for many birders.