Sacajawea Audubon

Update from the Bridger Ridge Hawk Watchers

Juvenile Swainson's Hawk (photo by J. Harris)

Greetings fans of Hawk Watch,

It feels like fall has come and passed already!  Since our last report the weather has cleared and the raptors have continued their southerly journey.   It has been beautiful up here on the Bridger Ridge, albeit a little cold.
Latest news is a mountain lion trail spotted behind our cabin, mountain goats on the east side of Tilly, and LOTS of golden eagles.  This past week the golden has been consistently over half the total migrants on a daily basis.  We expect this to continue till the end of the season.  Besides the Golden Eagles, we have seen increasing numbers of Prairie Falcons and Merlins; two very exciting birds to see (flying sharks is our nick-name).  The Sharp-shinned Hawks have stayed pretty steady, but the Cooper's have dropped off, making our lives somewhat easier.  Our first Rough Legged Hawk was spotted during the previous weekend.  These arctic birds bring sign of the coming winter.
Raptor Fest weekend was a huge success.  We had a record turnout of 4200 visitors down at the lodge.  There was an elite 50 that made it up to the ridge out of that group.  Good work guys!  The weather was great and we saw lots of birds, including the very rare Ferruginous Hawk, only our 4th one of the season.  We hope that everyone enjoyed the show that Bridger Bowl put on and all the excellent demonstrations and learning experiences that the event had to offer.
If you want to see more raptors, come on up!  The season is still quite exciting.  A Hawk Watch site in Alberta counted 427 golden eagles today and we expect those birds to arrive Friday.  Hold on to your seats!  The local weather at the helipad can be seen at if you want to check it out.
We would like to thank all of you once again for coming up and seeing us!  The birds are awesome, but we really appreciate the human company and all the great gifts you have bestowed on us.  Our happiness for this is beyond words.
Check out the attached image of a beautiful adult female Northern Harrier (note the tawny underside with heavy steaking - the tell-tale field-mark) giving our owl decoy a hard time (as usual).  Thanks to Kalon for these awesome pictures.
Here is the count as of October 10, 2012 (No counts on October 3 and 4 due to weather).
2 Turkey Vultures
9 Ospreys
58 Harriers
377 Sharp-shinned Hawks
177 Cooper's
17 Goshawks
52 Unknown Accipiters
37 Broad Wingeds
8 Swainson's
220 Red Taileds
4 Ferruginous
2 Rough Legged
11 Unknown Buteos
613 Golden Eagles
42 Bald Eagles
6 Unknown Eagles
146 Kestrels
14 Merlins
10 Prairie Falcons
34 Peregrine Falcons
12 Unknown Falcons
66 Unknown Raptors (maybe some Ravens in there too).
Cheers and happy birding,
Kalon and Bret from Bridger Ridge.
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