Date: 3/14/19 10:32 am From: 'Derek and Jeannette Lovitch' via Maine birds <maine-birds...> Subject: [Maine-birds] Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch starts tomorrow, 3/15!
Hawkwatching season is here! Freeport Wild Bird Supply (FWBS) is once again sponsoring the Spring Hawkwatch at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, which begins on March 15th. 2019 marks the 13th consecutive season for this project through which valuable data is collected while providing an enjoyable and educational experience for visitors. This year, we welcome back Zane Baker from North Yarmouth as our official Hawkcounter for his third consecutive season. He’ll be stationed at the summit from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily from March 15th to May 15th.
Rising 485 feet above the southern coastal plain, Bradbury Mountain provides unimpeded views to the south and east all the way to the islands of Casco Bay. Whether using updrafts off the mountain, gliding overhead, or soaring over the plains, observers watch raptors utilizing a variety of migratory methods as they work their way north. The goal of the project is to document this migration by identifying and counting all raptors that pass by the mountain. On average, we see over 1,500 Broad-winged Hawks, 400 Osprey, and 75 Bald Eagles, among others in a season. Bradbury Mountain is also a fantastic place to view Red-shouldered Hawks, a species that is difficult to see when nesting in summer. Over a period of years, these data can be analyzed to determine trends in species numbers as well as changes in distributions, which when studied in conjunction with other monitoring sites across the continent, give us a broadscale idea of what is happening with raptor populations.
But, it is not just about the numbers. Hawkwatching is a very social activity that is accessible to birders of all abilities. Last spring, we interacted with more than 1000 visitors! Seeing your first kettle (group of birds rising up on an updraft or thermal) of 50+ Broad-winged Hawks, or learning how to tell the difference between a Bald Eagle and a Turkey Vulture several miles away is an eye-opening experience for many folks. Organized hawkwatch sites, like Bradbury Mountain, are great places to meet new people and learn about raptors and the conservation issues they face at the same time.
So, grab your binoculars and join us atop Bradbury Mountain this spring. Zane will gladly answer questions about the raptors you will see and help visitors learn what to look for to identify the 18 species that may pass by. The hawkwatch is free with standard state park entry fees.
Complete directions, suggestions, and seasonal averages can be found in my Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide.
Also, be sure to mark your calendar for Feathers Over Freeport: A Birdwatching Weekend on April 27th – 28th. The Hawkwatch will be one of many featured activities during this family-oriented event at Bradbury Mountain and Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Parks.
We'll post daily totals here on the Maine-birds listserve, along with weekly summaries on the News Page of our website and our store's Facebook Page. You can view daily totals most easily via Hawkcount.org: https://www.hawkcount.org/siteinfo.php?rsite=616
We'll see you atop The Brad soon!
-Derek and Jeannette