Hawk Migration Banding – Sept. 11-12

Written by PSBO Board Member and Apprentice, Ben Vang-Johnson:

Hatch Year Male  Peregrine Falcon

Hatch Year Male Peregrine Falcon. Photo by Ben Vang-Johnson

I spent another weekend at HawkWatch International’s Chelan Ridge site in the Okanogan National Forest. This weekend the migration picked-up, and we banded a lot of birds, mostly sharp-shinned hawks, Cooper’s hawks, and red-tailed hawks. The highlight of the weekend was a peregrine falcon (male, hatch year). Sharp-shinned hawks and Cooper’s hawks often have differential migration within their species, such that juvenile birds migrate before adults during fall migration. This has been clearly demonstrated at this site in the past, and that is likely what is happening this season as all but one of the Accipiters we banded the last two weekends were hatch year birds. We would expect as the migration season continues that the number of adult Accipiters banded will approach and then surpass the number of juveniles banded, on a daily basis. In fact, in previous fall migration seasons that is exactly what happened.

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