“There’s a thousand hawks!” It’s hard to match the excitement one feels when hearing these words coming from a fellow hawk-watcher during the peak of hawk migration season. Fellow hawk-watcher James Poling somehow managed to remain calm, as he first spotted this massive kettle coming towards us during the Mt. Pisgah Fall hawk watch of 2018. Within half an hour, onlookers counted 4,800 Broad-winged hawks soar over the Mills River Overlook (a new record at that time) on the Blue Ridge parkway of Western North Carolina. The following year‘s Big Day yielded 5,800 hawks in one day.
It’s for moments like this that we gather at the overlook in the Fall, to enjoy migrating Raptors. As with all avian species, this could not happen without conservation efforts. To help ensure this, HMANA, partnering with several other conservation agencies, has put in place a system for hawk-count monitoring which The Pisgah Peregrines are proud to help support through Raptorthon! But we need your help!
This year, the Pisgah Peregrines will be counting Raptors and Songbirds in Henderson County and surrounding areas. We’ll cruise Hooper Lane (a birding hotspot) to grab Kestrels on the wires, then head to Transylvania County for Eagles, and down into Polk County for the start of migration as birds head up towards the mountains. We’ll be concentrating of Raptors, but also counting each and every Songbird.
Please help sponsor The Pisgah Peregrines team either by making a direct donation to HMANA, or by pledging any amount (see suggestions) for each songbird found, or Raptor’s only if you wish. All funds raised will go toward monitoring programs at HMANA including HawkCount.org, a migration database which securely stores counts of migrating raptors from more than 250 sites across the United States, Canada, and Central America. Your donation will also support HMANA’s Hawk Watch Fund which provides annual grants to assist watch sites looking for support that includes educational materials and displays, construction and maintenance of viewing platforms, hiring hawk watchers, or purchase of equipment.