After a summer of waiting we finally began to see movement updates for Ottauquechee!
Several months of following Broad-winged Hawks around Vermont culminated in a successful trapping expedition with researchers from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s Broad-winged Hawk Project.
Broad-winged Hawks are small stocky hawks of the buteo genus commonly found throughout Northeastern and North central North America. Their backs are brown and they have chestnut barring on the chest and abdomen. They have a notable black and white striped tail visible during flight. They produce a high pitched whistle call which is an easy identifier, as they are more secretive during nesting season. Though they can be spotted in the thousands during migration. These huge flocks are called kettles.
Spring may finally be upon us, despite forecasts calling for snow in the coming week, and our Rough-legged Hawks are back in Canada continuing to move north for breeding in the arctic.
Spring migration is just beginning across the state and birds are on the move!
As fast as winter began, our winter raptor surveys have finished! We had a great few months looking for birds of prey in Addison County, with lots of snow cover and consistent cold temperatures.
As we slowly transition into winter, reports of migrant birds are trickling in throughout the state. Snowy Owls have been sighted in Colchester and Waterbury and researchers from Project SNOWstorm predict a “sizeable push” of immature birds this year. Snows experienced a robust breeding season in the eastern and central Canadian Arctic this summer which may lead to more sightings as winter progresses. These young birds sometimes wind up in trouble and end up at the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation. This season we have already seen a young female who was in distress and emaciated. Unfortunately, the bird did not survive but samples will be sent to Project SNOWstorm in an effort to better help the species as a whole. Blood work will also be collected from any others that end up in rehab and sent to researchers in the project.
With spring in full swing we have officially wrapped up our winter raptor field season. Both Middlebury and Goodrich have been reliably checking in and sending location data for us to analyze. So far each bird has revealed drastically different movement patterns.
The last few weeks have been excellent for winter bird watching. Since our transmitters are arriving later than expected, we’ve decided to change strategies and set up standardized survey routes. While we’re mostly focusing on raptors, we love all birds and can’t help but stop and watch some of the large flocks of winter birds we’ve been seeing too.