Date: 3/16/23 9:51 pm
From: Lance Benner <lbenner...>
Subject: [LACoBirds] Swainson's Hawk Migration: A banner day on March 16!

Greetings Everyone,

Swainson's hawk migration in Los Angeles County today appeared to
start rather slowly, at least over Altadena and northern Pasadena
where conditions were gloomy with low clouds, fog, light drizzle, and
very little wind until around mid day when things began to open up.
Then things got more interesting.

The first report of Swainson's hawks we heard about were reported by
Tom Benson to our east in Redlands (in San Bernardino County), who saw
about 130 around noon. At 14:45 Tom Miko reported 87 in Claremont;
some of those could have been birds seen earlier by Tom Benson to the
east. At about 4 pm Luke Tiller reported groups of 42 and 58 in
Altadena on the east side of Eaton Canyon near Midwick Dr.

Then the floodgates really opened: at about 6 pm Cathy McFadden and
Paul Clarke reported about 200 hawks at Claremont Village. Mike San
Miguel reported about 500 starting at about the same time, so it seems
likely that he saw some of the birds seen by Cathy and Paul plus about
300 more. Mike posted a photos and a spectacular video on his eBird
list at:

It turns out that there were even more! This morning Joshua Mitchell
found 10 Swainson's hawks in Monrovia at 9:14 am and then another
group of 15 at Vina Vieja Park at 12:39. Starting at 12:10, Jack
Wickel counted 112 farther south in Pasadena at Tournament Park (next
to Caltech)in groups of 83, 24, plus a few stragglers. Jack also
posted some fascinating images on his eBird list:

We also received a second-hand report of about 50 Swainson's hawks at
the California Botanic Garden in Claremont this morning but I don't
have any additional details.

Here's a summary of groups of at least 10:

2023 Mar 16 50 California Botanic Garden

2023 Mar 16 10 Monrovia, Hillcrest & Magnolia Joshua Mitchell. 9:14

2023 Mar 16 112 Tournament Park, Pasadena Jack Wickel 12:10. Flocks
of 83, 24, & stragglers

2023 Mar 16 15 Vina Vieja Park, Pasadena Joshua Mitchell. 12:39

2023 Mar 16 87 Claremont Village Tom Miko. 14:45 Seen from Wheeler

2023 Mar 16 100 Midwick Dr, Altadena Luke Tiller. About 4 pm. Flocks
of 42 & 58.

2023 Mar 16 200 Claremont:Indian Hill/Foothill Cathy McFadden & Paul
Clarke. 6 pm.

2023 Mar 16 510 Claremont Village Mike San Miguel; also Tom Miko and
Cathy McFadden. 6:04-6:23 pm.

Some of Mike's were probably in the same group seen by Cathy & Paul

These are the largest numbers of Swainson's hawks documented in Los
Angeles county this year.

Clearly substantial numbers of Swainson's hawks were on the move in
Los Angeles County on March 16: Apparently more than 700 birds in
multiple kettles. It's interesting that all of these birds were seen
north of I-10, which follows the pattern dating back to at least 2017,
the earliest year in eBird that I've checked in detail.

It's also intriguing that Steven Lima reported 10 at Glen Helen Park
at about 1 pm. How many move through the Cajon Pass? This would be a
good area to check.

Given that about 500 were seen at Claremont Village shortly before
sunset, it seems likely that those birds roosted near that general
area, and as a result, there could be large numbers lifting off on
Friday morning and moving west. Observers west of Claremont and along
the foothills have the potential to see hundreds on Friday morning, so
please keep watching! Please report your sightings on the county
listserve, and as always, please report them in eBird.

Good luck, and keep looking up!



Lance Benner

On behalf of Los Angeles Birders


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