Hawk Counters Tally 1.3 Million Raptors

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

 Oct. 21, 2015

The Hawk Migration Association of North America celebrated its second annual International Hawk Migration Week by tallying more than 1.3 million migrating hawks, eagles and vultures throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Also this week, you’ll read about a new bear hunting blog launching in Maryland next week, and more.

More Than 1 Million Hawks Counted During Migration Week
The Hawk Migration Association of North America celebrated its second annual International Hawk Migration Week Sept. 19-27, 2015 by tallying more than 1.3 million migrating hawks, eagles and vultures at more than 100 sites throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Absher's ONH 10-21-15 12003339_10208240831045270_3292359787554543968_n-720x640Each year hundreds of thousands of hawks, eagles and vultures make their journey to wintering areas as far as South America. Dedicated counters at hawk-watch sites document this movement starting as early as August 1 and continuing daily into December.

Their daily numbers are reported to the Hawk Migration Association of North America’s online database, HawkCount.org. The September dates for the second annual International Hawk Migration Week were chosen due to the impressive number of hawks that are counted at that time across North America.

A total of 102 watch sites from 31 states and provinces across the continent counted an astounding 1,370,005 raptors during that time frame. Of the 30 species that were tallied, the vast majority were Broad-winged Hawks (1,304,132) the species at its peak of migration. Other high counts included 23,244 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 6,659 Turkey Vultures, 6,182 Mississippi Kites, 5,696 American Kestrels, and 3,661 Osprey.

Raptors tend to follow topographic features during fall migration such as north-to-south running ridgelines, coastlines and river valleys. A funneling effect compresses their paths as they approach the southern U.S.

The majority of hawks choose to avoid long water crossings so they are squeezed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and on through Mexico. As a result, sites in Veracruz, Mexico, counted more than any other at 775,037 raptors during the week. Corpus Christi, Texas, located on the U.S. Gulf coast tallied 267,395 raptors. Other impressive counts across the continent included 53,341 at the Detroit River Hawk Watch, Michigan, 23,807 at Hawk Ridge, Minnesota, 8,397 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area, Ontario, and 949 at the Florida Keys Hawk Watch, Florida.

Ohio City Council Votes to Lift Archery Ban
Prior to a unanimous vote by the Nelsonville, Ohio, City Council last week, many residents were not aware their town prohibited shooting bows and arrows inside its city limits. After all, for more than two decades, the city played host to more than 1,000 competitive archers each year for the IBO National Championship Second Leg taking place at nearby Hocking Technical College.

The Athens Messenger newspaper reported this week that the Nelsonville City Council passed legislation on first reading October 13 to allow archery activities to take place in indoor facilities and outdoors in the city if a permit is obtained from the city manager’s office.

In order to obtain a permit, “the sponsor of a facility, owner of a premises, or applicant for a specific event must provide to the city manager written evidence of liability insurance coverage and a written plan describing the location and supervision of the archery activity,” according to the proposed change in city code.

Maryland ‘Bear Hunt Blog’ Launching For Season
These days, modern media — even outdoor and hunting media — communicates with blogs, hashtags, tweets, and through social media outlets. As a result, the Cumberland (Md.) Times-News will host a live blog for the 2015 Maryland black bear hunting season October 26-29, written by longtime outdoors writer Mike Sawyers, who just happened to be one of 500 lucky bear tag recipients.

“Bear Hunt 2015,” the live blog, will use the hashtag #MdBears2015.

Absher's ONH 10-21-15 2235116The hunt takes place only in Garrett and Allegany counties, the two westernmost Maryland counties located in prime black bear habitat.

The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service (@MDDNRWildlife) also has a Twitter account specifically for black bear management (@MDBlackBear) and has lent its support to Sawyers’ effort.

“This sounds like fun,” said Paul Peditto, the state’s wildlife management director. Peditto said the agency would promote, cross-promote and tag the newspapers live blog.

“The idea is to allow Maryland’s bear hunters, whether they might be on the Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County or a private farm in Garrett County, to let others know how the hunt is going,” Sawyers explained. “They could let others know if they have or haven’t seen bears, if it’s raining in a certain part of the hunting zone or if they shot a 400-pound bear and have to find a way to get it out of the woods.”

Training Begins For New South Dakota Enhanced Concealed Carry Permit
The first training has started for South Dakota’s new enhanced concealed carry permit that will allow its holders to legally carry handguns in states not covered by South Dakota’s standard reciprocity agreements.

During its 2015 session, the South Dakota Legislature enacted the new option in order to allow qualified South Dakotans to meet the requirements of neighboring states of Minnesota, Nebraska and others that were not part of the 26-state reciprocity under the standard concealed-carry law.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced in July that the initial training class would be launched September 23 at the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center in Pierre.

Under the new rules, instruction for the state’s enhanced concealed carry classes are provided by National Rifle Association certified instructors and the Division of Criminal Investigation.

The new enhanced permit course includes instruction on South Dakota law relating to firearms and the use of force, the basic concepts of safe and responsible handgun use, self-defense principles, and live-fire training of at least 98 rounds of ammunition.

Quote of the Week
“If there is a heaven, it must have thinning aspen gold, and fighting woodcock, and a bird dog.”
– George Bird Evans,
October Fever, 1989

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@me.com.

(Top Photo by J.R. Absher)


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