do birds of prey migrate

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Raptors frequently use geographical features, such as the coastlines of the Great Lakes, to help them navigate south. Many birds fly through the St. Lawrence to avoid crossing the Great Lakes’ bodies of water. Clair – Detroit River system, prior to circumnavigating Lake Erie’s western shores and proceeding southward.

Assist in protecting birds’ futures from threats such as habitat loss and climate change. Your contribution will fuel our research, instruction, advocacy, and field-based conservation initiatives.

With an emphasis on bird conservation and the preservation of significant habitats, Audubon chapters cultivate a culture of conservation in their local communities through advocacy and education.

Raptors migrate exclusively during the day, giving observers numerous opportunities to witness their massive flocks, also referred to as “kettles,” in contrast to many songbirds. Imagine witnessing an invisible trail system in the sky come to life as hundreds to thousands of birds of prey take flight and migrate south. Kettles can include up to tens of thousands of individual raptors, which is an amazing sight!

Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged Hawks will be the first raptors to arrive in September, migrating through the state by the hundreds or thousands every day. October will see an increase in hawk diversity as large numbers of Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Turkey Vultures, and other hawks begin to pass through Michigan. Some northern owls migrate into the Upper Peninsula by November, including the Great Gray Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, and Boreal Owl. In November, raptor migration in Michigan will come to an end with a fair number of Rough-legged Hawks and Golden Eagles passing through the state.

Do Hawks Migrate South for the Winter?

Most hawks migrate south in autumn, though not all hawks. Red-tailed, Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned, and numerous other hawks will be seen soaring through the sky.

Hawk migrations move south from Canada and the northern United States, following both coasts, the Great Lakes, the Great Plains, the Appalachians, the Rockies, and finally converging into the Mexican funnel. Some pour down into Central America.

The birds are simply traveling in the same direction, shoulder to shoulder and wing to wing, without even knowing one another!

The majority of songbird migration occurs at night, and our only indication that thousands of birds are above us is when we hear a few chirps or see a shadow flash before the moon. Some bird flocks are so big that they show up as “blooms” on meteorologists’ radar maps.

When do Hawks Migrate?

Although the timing of the migration can vary from September to mid-November depending on weather and other factors, most hawks migrate in October.

On a clear October day in North America, you can see dozens or even hundreds of hawks, falcons, eagles, and their relatives streaming southward from any hilltop. They can be seen individually or in small groups. The skies appear empty one day and full the next, as though someone has turned on a spigot.

Local ponds are abandoned by ospreys, marshes by harriers, and cliff ledges by falcons.

Little angular missiles called merlins, whose wings protrude like an anchor’s flukes, fly by almost too quickly to be noticed.

Long-tailed dashers of the forest, Sharp-shinned Hawks, harass one another with the heedless abandon of fighter pilots.

A Golden Eagle soars by, its six-foot frame casting an even bigger shadow as ravens swoop down from above like gnats, not twitching a muscle.

This is exciting not because it defies logic, but rather because of how enormous it is and how difficult it is to grasp. As I’ve gotten older, my tastes have changed. For example, a Shriner on a little scooter seems mild in comparison to a silent, kettling cloud of Broad-winged Hawks rising overhead on their long journey down to the tropical forests of Brazil.


Do birds of prey migrate in winter?

Adult birds will migrate to the same wintering area where they wintered the year before. Many juvenile hawks migrate on their own and need to find a wintering area, or they wander over large territories, looking for adequate prey, compatriots, better weather, etc.

Where do birds of prey migrate to?

Migrating hawks travel southward out of Canada and the northern United States, along both coasts of North America, around the Great Lakes, over the Great Plains, down the Appalachians and the Rockies, pressed together into the funnel of Mexico. Some pour down into Central America.

Do hawks and falcons migrate?

Hawks, falcons, and vultures are among the few groups of birds that migrate during the day. Unlike songbirds and waterfowl, which migrate under cover of night, raptors are actually visible as they make their long journeys across continents.

Where do hawks go in the winter time?

Migration. Resident or short-distance migrant. Most birds from Alaska, Canada, and the northern Great Plains fly south for a few months in winter, remaining in North America. Birds across the rest of the continent typically stay put, sharing the countryside with northern arrivals.