Friday, November 02, 2007

Final Raptor Numbers at Lucky Peak

On Wed, Oct 31 the hawk counters (Chadi & Kyle) sat on the hill counting southbound raptors for the last time in 2007 - thus bringing to a close the fall 2007 migration monitoring season. I should note that some raptors, including Northern Goshawks (the counters mentioned seeing several adults on the move during the last few days), are certainly continuing to migrate through... It's just that the #s dwindle after October and it's important to stick to standardized dates for our monitoring to mean anything.

OK, enough babbling ... on to the #s for diurnal raptors and owls.

Diurnal Raptor season totals, 25 Aug to 31 Oct, 2007 (in descending order of abundance):
Turkey Vulture 1189
Red-tailed Hawk 1059
Sharp-shinned Hawk 947
American Kestrel 581
Cooper's Hawk 494
Northern Harrier 135
Northern Goshawk 76 (2nd best year ever; well over annual average of 43)
Osprey 55
Swainson's Hawk 41
Golden Eagle 35
Merlin 28
Broad-winged Hawk 20
Peregrine Falcon 12
Rough-legged Hawk 7
Ferruginous Hawk 4
Bald Eagle 3
Prairie Falcon 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1

...for a total of 4,814 counted (for those doing the math, this includes several categories of unidentified raptors that observers couldn't be absolutely certain about due to poor views). This is lower than average but is up 300 birds from last year (which was the lowest since 1995). Of the 5 most common species, RT Hawks and vultures #s in 2007 are above average whereas the other 3 (Sharp-shins, Cooper's, and kestrels) are all below average. In particular, American Kestrel #s are just over 1/2 of average and 2006 & 2007 have been the 2 lowest years since the study began in the mid-1990s.

Maxi Galmes (Argentina) holding an (unhappy) immature Northern Goshawk. 2007 was one of our best years for this charismatic raptor species.

Now, for the owl totals (28 Aug to 28 Oct):
Northern Saw-whet Owl 120
Flammulated Owl 6

Though the #s seem less impressive than for the raptors (especially for the Flammulated), this was the best overall owl season since 2003. And, the Saw-whets likely generate the most fascination and awe on a 'per-bird' basis- as all visitors who've enjoyed seeing these guys up close know.

Lastly, the top ten songbird species (that I neglected to post last time):
Dark-eyed Junco 1111 (a new record)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 788 (2nd lowest year)
White-crowned Sparrow 403
Dusky Flycatcher 356
Yellow Warbler 290 (a new record)
MacGillivray's Warbler 285
Yellow-rumped Warbler 284
Spotted Towhee 238
Warbling Vireo 216 (a new record)
Western Tanager 201



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Mission: to contribute to the conservation of western migratory landbirds through cooperative research and public education