Where are the best places to watch, count, and photograph fall raptor migration? Find out here.
Red-tailed Hawk. Photo: Photo: Michael Kralik/Audubon Photography Awards
Have you ever witnessed a “kettle”? No, we aren’t talking about the kitchen appliance. September—October, Broad-winged Hawks and other birds of prey migrate by the thousand in large flocks called “kettles” (scroll down for a video!), soaring on thermals from their breeding grounds to winter habitat thousands of miles away. The best time to look for migrating hawks in astonishing numbers is after a cold front, with a north or northwest wind.
During fall migration, volunteer hawkwatchers count and observe thousands of raptors as they head south for the winter. The data is compiled and recorded to help advance scientific study and research. On a good day with northwest winds, one may see a variety and large number of hawks such as eagles, kestrels, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Ospreys, Broad-winged Hawks, and Peregrine Falcons among others.
Audubon Connecticut submits its data to the Hawk Migration Association of America. The numbers help inform conservation action to increase the health of raptor populations.
Get your binoculars ready (or don't, since these large birds can be seen with the naked eye!), and get ready to see some birds of prey.
Lighthouse Point Park - located in New Haven, CT, birds have been seen here migrating through as low as head-height!
Chesnut Hill - located in Litchfield, CT. Click here for directions to this site.
There are more great viewing sites right next door - click to see what New York has to offer this hawkwatch season!