May Raptor Update

Despite the calendar turning to May, migration for this period was nearly non-existent due to continued non-south winds (much like last spring…)

Things finally changed when the winds went south the night of the 12th, only to go WNW the next morning. A pattern that would be repeated through the 17th. The combo of south winds each night brought a new wave of passerines, while the WNW (and NW and N) winds in the day limited the amount of raptors passing by Brockway. An added insult was the wind maps showing south winds at the bottom of the Keweenaw!

Since the 12th the flight has been steady with a few hundred raptors each day, and the biggest flight for the period was on the 13th with 454 raptors recorded including 307 Broad-winged Hawks. It seems that the southerly winds to the south brings raptors up into the Keweenaw, but the WNW-N winds along the north shore is pushing those birds inland and away from Brockway. What birds do pass by tend to be high or inland, a pattern I don’t see changing until we get south winds in the daytime. Noteworthy were 545 west bound Broad-winged’s on the 15th, that’s a higher count than any day of east bound birds this season.

Raptor highlights have been sparse this spring, but an adult Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk that has made several appearances over the last few days is definitely a stand out. This is likely the first record of this pale western subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk for the count.

Here’s the local Raven carrying food to the nest, it wont be long until the young fledge and are flapping around the cliff edge and valley.