Now’s the time to join researchers at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Pa, and track online the amazing journey of four broad-winged hawks, tracing their long-distance movements from Pennsylvania to Central and South America, using an easy-to-use movement map at hawkmountain.org/broadwing.
The tool is available thanks to the latest satellite telemetry technology and the tiny transmitters attached to each bird: two juveniles—“America” and “Hawk Eye”—from a nest at Hawk Mountain, “Abbo,” an adult that was trapped and tagged in New Ringgold, and another juvenile named “Kit” from a nest in Shartlesville.
“The adult left her nest area in July. The three juvenile birds started moving away from their nest sites in late August, and this week, they began moving south,” says Dr. Laurie Goodrich, the senior monitoring biologist at the Sanctuary and study coordinator.“Now they need to soar more than 4,000 miles to winter in Central or South America,” she adds.
The study marks the first time a telemetry unit has ever been placed on a juvenile broadwing, as well as the first time scientists have a chance to compare movements of siblings from the same nest. The research, which started in spring with nest monitoring, is funded by a Pennsylvania Game Commission State Wildlife Grant with support from ATAS International, the Kittatinny Coalition, and other private donors and supporters.
“Because we’re using the newer units, if all goes well and the birds survive their journey, we can track the four for up to two years,” Goodrich explains.
“At Hawk Mountain, the broad-winged hawk is the most numerous migrant but the vast majority of birds counted pass within a narrow time frame. As of September 12, as many as 675 broadwings per day have passed and the number will quickly crescendo to more hundred-bird flocks by mid month, and several thousand can pass during the peak of the flight, historically sometime between September 13 to 20.
To learn more about the study or to sponsor a tagged bird, please visit hawkmountain.org/broadwing or email firstname.lastname@example.org.