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