Current Activity


While March has only just ended, the weather thus far has felt far more like mid April. With temps in the thirty’s and 40’s and very little snow on the mountain. Despite the generally warm temps winds have been less than optimal for migration, but the 196 raptors for March is the highest March total of my five seasons here. Fingers crossed that’s a sign for how the rest of the spring will go!

The flight thus far has been decidedly March. With Bald Eagles making up the bulk of the numbers thus far, with a few Golden Eagles mixed in to keep things interesting and the Ravens on guard. Buteo numbers have been low, with just a handful of Red-tailed, Red-shouldered (picture below), and Rough-legged Hawks(pictured below). The first Turkey Vulture of the spring arrived on March 30.

Locally Copper Harbor has been awash in winter finches. A few Pine Grosbeaks have been passing though, along with flocks of Evening Grosbeaks and excellent numbers Common and a few Hoary Redpolls. Of note both subspecies of Common and Hoary Redpolls have been present, a first for me in here.

End of April

April felt slow. Typically the last half of the month gets some south winds which brings in the Broad-winged’s, this year that didn’t happen.

I didn’t fully realize how slow this April was until I looked at the data…and that about sums April up.

On the couple days that had south winds raptors were moving!

A few photos from those days are below.

The migration outside of raptors has also been slow. An Eastern Meadowlark spent a couple days near the shack bringing a welcome splash of color to the mountain. Few things show how April felt better than the Eastern Phoebe below, which was my first of the spring and arrived during a two day snowstorm.

Deer have more prevalent than I remember from past years. Several have walked up to the shack, clearly unprepared for hunting season.

Fingers crossed May brings south winds, if not…well, the road up the mountain will be open so there is that.


Mid April

April has consisted of north winds and snow, with fresh four foot drifts covering the road up the mountain. On the couple days that have had south winds there were birds moving, with today having the biggest flight of the season (123 raptors and 1,200 Canada Geese!). A few of the recent raptors can be seen in the video below.

Also count data is up over on Trektellen, and at some point live data entry will be happening on there as well!

The Start of the Season

The 2020 count has started! I’m back for my fourth spring on the mountain, the weather is on a warming trend, Turkey Vultures have arrived, and the snow on Brockway is slowly melting!

While the Northern Goshawk that circled the shack on the 27th (picture up top) was exciting, the greatest excitement of the season thus far happened today. A day that will go down in history (if you’re a Common Raven), a day that will be re-told for generations to come (if you’re a Common Raven). If you have spent anytime around the Ravens on Brockway you know they hate Golden Eagles. And by hate I mean they will spot them a mile out and chase and attack (I’m talking pulling feathers off the Golden’s back attack) them until they change directions. The Ravens ignore Bald’s, but if a Golden so much as cracks the horizon the Ravens are on it. The inexperienced immature Golden’s typically suffer the wrath of the Raven’s to a far greater extent than the adults, but usually other than a few feathers lost and the embarrassment of having to retreat, the Golden’s have control of the encounter (despite what the Raven’s will tell you).

Then today happened. An unlucky adult Golden Eagle had the unfortunate experience of meeting the Brockway Common Ravens at their nest site. The result was drama that hadn’t been witnessed on Brockway in several years (if not ever). The Ravens drove the Golden down in to the valley trees, eventually forcing it to forgo all dignity and land on the ground were it had to hop/walk through the undergrowth until it could find a gap in the trees big enough for it to take flight, the whole time screaming at the Ravens. The Ravens never gave it a moment of peace, attacking and harassing it nonstop. After 15-20 minutes on the ground the Golden made a break for it, got it out of the trees and through the Ravens, and (with the Ravens in hot pursuit) reached the safety of the next ridge.

The Ravens spent the rest of the count much more vocal than normal, and with good reason. How many other Ravens in the Midwest have taken down a Golden Eagle?

Aquila grounded
Escaping without its dignity
The true ruler of Brockway
A more regal Golden from last week

Other birds of note locally include a Black-backed Woodpecker that made a brief appearance during the count on the 1st, a calling Northern Saw-whet Owl on the 31st, Northern Shrike on the 2nd (below), Western Meadowlark in town on the 31st, and Bohemian and Ceder Waxwings in town on the 1st.

2019 Spring Count

We are pleased to announce the last years lead counter, Bob Baez has returned this season.
Some very uncooperative weather and snow machine breakdowns postponed our start date to March 21st.

The count is complete for 2018!

The board of the Keweenaw Bird Research Group are thrilled to have completed another successful spring survey!

Thank you Bob Baez, this years lead counter for braving Brockway and doing a great job! Also, thanks to the sub counters; Joseph Youngman and Deb Mues for filling the voids!

Thank you Bill Degowski for being our “shack man” again this year and the volunteers that helped place it on the top of Brockway Mountain.

We would also like to give a giant THANK YOU to those businesses and organizations that supported us and helped the BMHW complete another season!

Eagle Harbor Township (Land use for count site)
The Pines Resort Home of Zik’s Bar (counter housing)
The Mariner North (sponsor & fundraising)
Copper Harbor Fuel Stop (gas & oil for snow machines)
Copper Harbor Birding (sponsorship)
Copper Country Audubon (sponsorship)

You are all awesome!

Once in a lifetime offer

The local breeding raven pair’s young have fledged. The hawk count is winding down with June birds hard to come by. To celebrate the end we have a special offer. For a modest donation guests can take a tour of the Shack. Explore its nooks and crannies and decide where you would place your coffee mug (where would the pros put this precious liquid). Take a spin on the comfy swivel chair. Close the door and pretend it’s March and the only thing keeping you alive is the Shack. Then put up Tim Baerwald’s custom crafted netting to cover the door opening and see how that oh so thin barrier can save you pints of blood while you are in the Shack and the black flies are not. A trained, trusted volunteer will vigorously shake the Shack so you can experience high wind induced dancing vision in 3D. You will not be allowed to spin in the chair while the Shack is being shaken for liability reasons. If Brockway was Disneyland this would be a Z ride. Offer expires June 15. And maybe you will see a few raptors.

The migration goes on

Most of the Broad-wings are adults with immatures still to come. May 13 was the day all the aspens in the valley leafed out and the forest on the top of Brockway is mostly in leaf. The count goes on. The photo by Sally Clarke is of the counter, Randy Clarke and the Shack.