The Hawk Migration

Sharp-shinnedApr7-15

Migrating hawks follow well-defined routes as they move from their southern homes to our area.

They depend on updrafts to make flying easier, and don’t like to cross large bodies of water with no updrafts. Since they follow land paths, certain geographical locations are where hawks congregate.

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We have a spot like that close to where I live and the birders do hawk counts there. It is nice for casual birdwatchers to observe migrating hawks too.

Views from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Where I lived before coming to Niagara Falls, I often visited Hawk Mountain Sanctuary just north of Reading, Pennsylvania.

My Cousin’s Horse Ranch next to Hawk Mountain

My cousin has a very large horse ranch adjoining the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Hawk, eagle, osprey, vulture, and falcon can be observed at eye level as they pass along the mountain ridges of the Appalachian Mountains.

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Here in Niagara Falls, I myself live along the Niagara Gorge, another place to get its share of hawks. This year I also saw young eagles on the ice in the Niagara River, plus a few adults passing overhead. And for a first time ever, I saw an eagle fly over my house a couple of days ago. I was rather surprised after all the years I have lived here.

Hawk-4-7-15

Since it is migration time, my garden has been getting quite a few hawks. Yesterday there was a Kestrel eating a sparrow in my lilac shrub. Unfortunately, I did not see it before opening the back door, as I spooked it into a fast retreat. I have grown a little bored with the backyard birds, and have not been paying attention for the last year. I guess I should be a little more observant.

The images of the two hawks in this post were in my garden on April 7th. They flushed the sparrows and the chase began. I suppose a few sparrows are now nothing more than bird droppings.

Sharp-shinned-Apr-7-15

I really don’t have to travel further than my back yard during hawk migration. They come to me, if I only pay attention!

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18 Responses to The Hawk Migration

  1. A.M.B. says:

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve seen a few hawks in my yard recently (chasing sparrows).

  2. Girl Gone Expat says:

    The hawk is stunning, such a beautiful bird of prey!

  3. Aquileana says:

    The hawks are stunning… Oh those eyes are mesmerizing, aren´t they?
    Beautiful pics… Thanks for sharing & best wishes! Aquileana:D

  4. David says:

    Yes, gorgeous and stunning are the words that came to mind for me too.

  5. My Heartsong says:

    I am guessing this is a sharp-shinned hawk.This so well captured, Donna, with all its expressions and poses. I haven’t seen any yet though i thought I spotted an eagle but it was so high in the sky that I am not sure.The farm is beautiful, think you have featured it before.

  6. alesiablogs says:

    I love the photos!

  7. aussiebirder says:

    What wonderful post Donna! You raptor photos are amazing, how wonderful to have them passing near you, even in your garden, we have to travel many miles to see them here. Thank you!

  8. What great photos! And you saw an eagle? That’s so cool!

  9. Lyle Krahn says:

    The first and last photos are particularly stunning. I would love to be in the place you described where hawks fly by at eye level!

  10. Phil Lanoue says:

    Outstanding! Magnificent birds captured beautifully!

  11. Annie says:

    Incredible images and great for education. And I hope you don’t become too bored with photographing your backyard birds. We never grow tired of seeing them.

  12. Pat says:

    Fantastic photos, Donna.

  13. We see lots of hawks move through here too as they migrate north and through Mexico NY. These pictures are just amazing Donna.

  14. bittster says:

    Quite a surprise in the backyard, and those photos are amazing. The sharpness of the eyes and the pointed efficiency of the beak and talons really stand out!

  15. I totally agree … those Hawk pictures are superb.

  16. Mike says:

    These photos are amazing! Thanks for showing them.

  17. Beautiful birds and shots. There’s just something special about raptors.

  18. Emily Scott says:

    Have you read H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald? A fascinating book, all about how training a Goshawk helped her cope with her father’s death.

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