View from FIRE hawkwatch

Drew Panko, Coordinator This Year's Count Yearly Trends and Seasonal Distribution for each Species Yearly Summary Weather Forcast
All Time Records Watchers and Watched 7 metropolitan area watches HMANA NEHW Hawk Watch Statistics

*** FIRE Luncheon ***
Celebrate 34 Years! Celebrate 40,000 Merlins!

The 2015 Season

Panko Press: The FIRE Season Update, Oct 3 2015


40,000 MERLINS!

Congratulations everyone! We have reached 40,000 Merlins counted at the Fire Island Hawk Watch since we first began in 1982. The 40,000th Merlin passed our watch site on Sep 20, 2015. It was the 180th Merlin to fly over that day, so it was late afternoon, with only 4 more counted that day.

184 OSPREY to Reach 10,000

We need another 184 Osprey to reach 10,000 counted since the watch began. So, keep your eyes open and be sure we do not miss any.

September 2015 Update

Ospreys - The raptor count for 2015 set records for 6 of 7 species! Unfortunately the records are RECORD LOWS!

We had only one day with a total number of hawks over 100 – on 9/20 – John Gluth and Pat & Shai counted 81 OS, 90 AKs, 184 MLs and 9 PGs! It was our only day with persistent North and Northwest winds. The regional winds on that day are shown below:

Winds on Sep 20 2015

Only OS, with a count +53% over our all-time average and +30% over their 10-year average, did well this September. Most of these may be mostly regional breeders that seem to have had a bumper crop this year, in part due to the unusually high numbers of menhaden in our area this year.

The BE count is too low to place any confidence in, but seems to be remaining approximately constant.

For the Sharpies and Kestrels this is just a continuation of the downward trend in place since 1994.

Trend for Kestrels Trend for Sharpies

For the CHs it is still too early in the year to tell for sure. But if the explanation below is correct and the winds continue as they have been, they also will be low for the year.

There is still time for the NH, ML and PG to make up ground but I doubt they will. The persistent E and NE winds seem to be carrying the hawks inland, away from the coast.

Of course, this is just speculation, but the inland watches seem to be on the way to setting record highs for MLs. And the number of BWs at these sites are unusually low, except for the westernmost (Mt Peter). So the whole migration seems to have shifted inland. Hopefully, this is not going to be more than a one year phenomenon. My hopes that El Nino would break the trend of recent years seems unfulfilled, in fact, it seems to have exacerbated the situation of recent years AND extended it to the ML & PGs as well.

We should have a better handle on what is happening when we can look at the total counts for the entire year in the whole region. But one very suggestive indication on what is happening to the hawks comes from what happened to the passerines on the night of 10/2. Below is the Doppler radar for 9pm that night. The dark blue circles are migrating passerines, the smudgy blue green is rain. The winds were strong from the Northeast, and very strong along the coast:

Bird Migration are round circular patterns

The birds are clearly taking advantage of the winds, avoiding the precipitation, and by-passing our area completely, heading directly to the Gulf Coast. I believe that the Easterly components of the wind for many days did the same thing to the migrating hawks. And so, perhaps, the low numbers of NH, ML, and PGs are just a result of this and the breeding season for them was at least near normal, even though our counts of them are at record lows.

We all owe a debt to all the hearty watchers who sat out, often on blistering hot September days, to document that indeed, there were very few hawks passing.

Stay tuned for developments – one thing we know about the natural world is that things never remain the same, and, hopefully, we’ll have a record high flight in October!


Check out this year's totals at:
and the All-Year data at:

The 2015 FIRE Season Begins
Sep 7, 2015

Osprey flies right over the platform.


Welcome to the Fire Island Hawk Watch!

It's that time of the year again.  Both the hawks & the hawkwatchers are getting itchy for the season to begin.

Regular daily coverage begins on 9/10 and will continue through 11/10.  Coverage is in place for all the weekdays, but we still need coverage for 10 Saturdays and Sundays. Please drop me a note if you can cover a weekend day!

We are approaching 2 milestones in total hawks:

Merlins - in 33 years ('82-'14) we've tallied a total of 39,682 Merlins, so it is all but certain Merlin #40,000 will be counted this year!  I sure hope to be there when Merlin #40,000 passes.

Ospreys - Our total stands at 9500, so it is possible that number 10,000 will pass this year.  On one hand, we have counted more than 500 OS in only 2 of our 33 years so reaching #10,000 it is a long shot.  On the other hand, OS seem to be doing well this year and we've already counted 27 in pre-season coverage so far this year.

I’ll add a number of pages with graphs of hawk counts from other sites – Lighthouse Point in New Haven CT, and Quaker Ridge in Greenwich CT - to the book at the watch site.  I found it very interesting to see how their yearly totals have compared with Fire Island’s over the last 30+ years.  Let me know if you see any patterns in our coastal raptor populations.

Last year's count totals at FIRE were pretty discouraging with only OS, BE, and CH doing well.  But there are very encouraging reports from early coverage at other watch sites… perhaps we’ll break a few records this year!

Check our website for a full account of last year's birds:
and for this year's birds:

See you down at the beach!


Falcons on FIRE 
Last spring Drew and Trudy reported at 2 conferences on 33 years of trends for all 3 falcon species at FIRE.  This data was collected by our wonderful volunteers. 
1.  LI Natural History Conference - Mar 21
2.  NorthEast Hawk Watch conference - Apr 4

***     FIRE Luncheon     ***
Sunday,   Dec 7 2014,  12:00-3:00pm
We celebrated our hawks!  We celebrated our Watchers!

The 2014 Season

Panko Press                                                               2014 Dailies
FIRE UPDATE - Oct 14, 2014

Osprey doing well

Count and averages to 10/14
OS All Years % diff 10 Year % diff
400 275 +45.5 321 +24.6

Osprey are the bright spot in this season’s count.  The migration was early – so  while the population of OS seems to be doing well, this year’s breeding success may have been only average.  We seem to share OS with Lighthouse Point in New Haven CT.  By share I mean that an OS that migrates past FI one year might pass further inland on another year, depending on the prevailing and previous wind/weather conditions.  So we’ll have to see how well Osprey do at other hawk watches before making any firm statements about trends. 
At FIRE, Osprey are above average.

  Osprey with Needlefish at FIREOsprey & Needlefish

Bald Eagles - increasing at FIRE?
Count and averages to 10/14
BEAll Years% diff10 Year% diff

Bald Eagles seem to pass us more or less at random in very low numbers. FIRE, therefore, is not the place to monitor their passage. All inland watches seem to be having good numbers. And with a great deal of uncertainty the overall trend at FIRE seems to be up.

Northern Harriers - cause for concern
Count and averages to 10/14
NHAll Years% diff10 Year% diff

NH numbers are VERY worrisome.  We appear to be heading for an all-time low count for them.  The past 3 years have been very low as well.  In a normal breeding year, the majority of migrants of all species are immature.  The low numbers of NH for 3 consecutive years suggests that there has been little replacement of the adults that are lost to normal attrition, and we may begin to see a decline in the breeding adults as well.  In Harriers the immatures precede the adults, so the next 2 weeks should tell the tale.  I’m afraid we will set an all-time low count of NHs this year.

Sharp-shinned Hawks - possible all-time low

Count and averages to 10/14
SS All Years % diff 10 Year % diff
62 310 -80% 129 -52%

SS hawks have been declining for at least 20 years.  In the last 20 years, only 3 years have been equal to or higher than the overall 31 year average.  The last 3 years have been below average, and each year has been lower than the last.  All indications are that this year will continue this trend and I expect we will have an all-time low count of SSs this year.  The migration pattern of Sharpies is similar to Harriers; the immatures precede the adults.  So there is some hope for a couple of good pulses later this year.  However, the poor breeding seasons in the last 3 years likely have resulted in a lower adult breeding population (as with the Harriers) and we may tally even fewer total SSs this year than the all-time low we set last year (111).

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper's Hawks - above all-time, below 10-yr average
Count and averages to 10/14
CH All Years % diff 10 Year % diff
15 13.2 14% 18.4 -18%

It is too early to say how we are doing with CHs.  The majority (hopefully) are still to come.  The Coops have been increasing over the last 30 years, and this year (so far) is above that average, but not as high as in the last 10 years.  They had a bad breeding year along with the SSs & NHs.  Keep tuned to see if the breeding population is still healthy.  We also have the possibility that although their population is steady or increasing, fewer are migrating south.  Warmer climate and increasing numbers of backyard feeders could eventually have this effect.

American Kestrels - big trouble!
Count and averages to 10/14
AK All Years % diff 10 Year % diff
244 1389 -82% 689 -69%

Kestrels are in big trouble!  Based on past data, 90% of all the AKs we will count are through already!  It is a no brainer to predict that this year we’ll have a new all-time low count of AKs.  Last year we set a low of 484, and my prediction is that this year we will have a new low of 260 or less!  While I had some hope that the marked decline from 1994 had stabilized, this year refutes that and we may be documenting the disappearance of this species from the source regions we monitor.  The indications from other coastal watches seem to be the same.  Inland Kestrels are not quite as bad, but it is still a species in decline.

Merlins - down so far
Count and averages to 10/14
ML All Years % diff 10 Year % diff
519 1001 -48% 1049 -51%

Merlins are down markedly this year.  Their overall trend over the past 30 years have been steady or slightly increasing.  Last year MLs were below average, but still much higher than this year.  But at least we are already above our all time low of 491 set back in 1984.  Still this is our bread and butter bird.  For the last 30 years you could go down to FIRE, and no matter what the winds,  you would still see Merlins.  Not this year.  Could it just be a weather phenomenon, since this season has seen predominantly South winds?  Not likely in my view.  While numbers of MLs seem to be holding steady or increasing at inland sites, their numbers are so low inland it is hard to believe that all our birds are just going inland.  My take on hawk migration is that the main reason MLs are out on the barrier beaches is not wind drift, but that they come for the low vegetation habitat.  I have suspected for some time that some MLs (mostly adults) do move inland and that may be the case this year.  But that still leaves us with a low count for the immatures.  What is worrying is that breeding habitats of MLs are very different from the SSs, NHs, and AKs, so if we see them declining as well, the decline is taking place in a wide variety of habitats in N. America.  Hopefully, next year we will see a rebound of MLs.

Peregrines - slightly down, close to average; 22 on 9/29
Count and averages to 10/14
PG All Years % diff 10 Year % diff
133 134 -5% 177 -25%

PGs are down slightly over the average of the last 10 years.  This is not yet worrisome unless it continues.  Actually it opens the door for a little hope.  The majority of our PGs are strong fliers and tundra breeders as are the MLs.  If the reason for this year’s decline is that the tundra is becoming less hospitable to falcons we have a serious problem.  But significant numbers of PGs do pass inland and off shore and their decline this year may just be a weather related phenomenon.

See you at the beach!

Panko Press                                          2013 Dailies                                            Oct 13 2013
A Peregrine flies over our heads

It's October and the Falcons have arrived!

**First came the Peregrines, on 10/5.**

On the 4th, 5th and 6th we were on the dividing line between cool air from the north and moist air from the south. We were in the northern air mass on the 4th, but a warm front moved north and sat just south of us on the 5th with some showers moving along it. A larger group of showers were north of us, moving off of Cape Cod at dawn.

On Fire Island, 10/5 dawned dank and dark. Islip reported fog/mist overnight, changing to overcast 3 hours after dawn. The watcher reported good visibility and 100% cloud cover with NE winds at the watch.

A few MLs and PGs passed the watch until, at 1:00 DST, the winds shifted to the south, the visibility improved and
the PGs started passing - 35 in two hours - and stopped just as quickly. A wayward TV passed the watch after 3:00pm.

TV - 1
OS - 4
NH - 8
CH - 1
AK - 5
ML - 34
PG - 46

Were the PGs passing off shore all day, and just came to the barrier beach on the southerly winds? Or were they held up by the rain in Cape Cod, started south when the rain cleared at dawn, and arrived at Fire Island between 1pm and 3 pm?

**Then came the Merlins. They waited until the 8th.**

A well defined cold front was traveling our way on the 7th, passed us during the night and was offshore by dawn on the 8th. Islip reported strong, gusty northerly winds, but they were NE to E at Fire Island.  And the Merlins came - 242 of them!

 10/8 _
OS - 32
NH - 15
SS - 14
CH - 3
AK - 132
ML - 242
PG - 9

Although it was a pleasure to see all those MLs (new record for the date!) it is not entirely good news. As with most hawks the young-of-the-year (YOY) migrate first and we should have counted the young before 10/8. It is likely that many/most of these MLs were adults, migrating earlier than normal because they did not have many young to raise. We did see a number of adult males. If this is true, the Merlins will not make up their deficit and will likely end up below average. If, however, the YOY were late off the nest and late migrating we'll end the year with a bumper crop.....  There is only one way to find out - "Keep on Counting!"

Merlin eats dragonfly
Merlin Eats Dragonfly, another migrant
flying along the barrier beach.

There was also a huge number of Yellow-rumped Warblers on the beach that day, all trying to dodge the ML talons (some didn't make it)!
total30 Year Ave Percent
species2013to datedifference
OS304 27013.0%
*Numbers are still tentative until I get all the green sheets.
See you at the beach!

Panko Press                        2013 Dailies                           Sep 27 2013
A dark immature Peregrine zooms past the owl and overhead
A dark immature Peregrine zooms past the owl
and then past us at eye level.  Sep 25 2013
< style="width: 604px; height: 78px"> The peak of the falcon flight is about to take place and it is time to take stock. So far it has been a very different kind of year. <>We had an exceptional flight very early - on 9/5 - before regular coverage began, with 71 hawks. 32 Osprey and 36 Merlins were record counts for the date. And 4 Peregrines on the next day also were a record for such an early date. <>Then a nice pulse on 9/14-18, and another on 9/22-26 brought us up-to-date. These pulses, however, were not enough to bring most species up to average numbers. Osprey, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine totals are above average, but all the other species are below average ... with several very far below. < style="width: 616px">
30 Year AvetotalPercent
speciesto date2013difference
< style="width: 616px">So it is only the largest species: OS, BE, and PG, that are doing well. The Harriers are not too worrisome yet; there is plenty of time to catch up. The Sharpies are continuing their decline and are close to disappearing from our watch. It is much too early in the season to make anything out of the Cooper's Hawk numbers. The Kestrels are doing very poorly, and the hopes we have had in the last few years that they might be recovering seem unfounded. The Merlins are down significantly for this year. They haven't been this low since 2000. The Peregrines are a bright spot, but it is too early to say what the year will bring as their main flight is due over the next two weeks. < style="width: 616px">What has been extraordinary this year is the number of out-of-range non-raptors being seen recently. Every day for the last week or so an unexpected species has turned up --- including a whale and some dolphins! < style="width: 616px">We'll just have to stay the course and keep on counting to see how the year turns out. Drew
This season's Count:  2013 Dailies

Another season has started at Fire Island/strong>
<>Sandy has left her mark, the foredune has been mostly destroyed, two boardwalks also destroyed (main one from parking lot 5 is still intact), lots of pines and cedars have been killed, but much herbaceous vegetation (grasses & goldenrod) is flourishing.
Osprey with fish at the Fire Island Hawk Watch
Osprey with fish headed for lunch on the Lighthouse
<> Regular everyday coverage only began on 9/10, but some preliminary coverage in August and early Sept was very successful. We have counted 91 OS, 2 NH, 4 AK, 48 ML and 6 PG and set new daily records for any days before 9/10 with 32 OS & 36 ML on 9/5. We have complete coverage until Nov 10 except for 2 days - Nov 3 and Nov 10 (good winds only). So if you have been waiting to take a day please contact me for one of these dates. The weather predictions for Friday 9/13 through Sunday 9/15 looks very promising. I hope you can make it down to the watch for one of these days. Drew
This season's Count:  2013 Dailies

Peregrines fly overhead at the FIRE Watch Site                         The 2013 Season Begins!

The 2013 FIRE season began with a bird of a different sort - a CESSNA did an emergency landing on the roadway in front of Field 5!   Our watcher, Bobby K, called 911 and the Park Police, and they towed it away by the end of the day. 

Ospreys flew past that day and the day before, but some of them made planned landings - to eat their catch of the day.  There is scaffolding up on the F.I. Lighthouse, so there are additional perches this year for all those raptors coming through in the weeks ahead.

Check out our count so far:  2013 Dailies
   Cessna did emergency landing on road, Aug 24 2013    

We look to the East and search for hawks near the Fire Island Light House.
2012 Daily Counts
This year has started off with a big bang!  A cold front on the
first day of regular coverage.  And an "echo flight" on north winds
the following day.
   9/10   9/11
OS       92* 20
NH       23* 15
SS             5*    3
CH           1 *   1
AK        234  45
ML             98 49
PG    2 0
U       1 1
TH      456  134
* Species record for date.

 The bad news is that Wed (5 TH-all falcons) and Thurs (12 TH) were
much slower with unrelenting sun.

I am looking forward to a good season.  We and many other hawkwatches are counting good numbers of Kestrels.  I suspect that the low count we had last year was just a fluke of the weather - lack of cold fronts.  But this years seems to much more normal and I'm looking forward to a Kestrel count at least as good as we had in 2010.


*** Our Hawk Watchers Celebrate ***
30 Years and Counting...
Pictures from the Luncheon:  Fun for All!

*** Merlin has Breakfast ***


We are an all volunteer organization in operation Sep 10-Nov 10 for 29 years. Location

                                                     2009             2010 Data              NEHW Silhouette Guide                    Web updated: 01/11/2016

Panko Press, 9/14/2011

The 2011 Season Begins   The Fire Island hawk watch began every day coverage on 9/10.

Spectacular 2010 Season.  We had a spectacular year last year. We set yearly records for four species - OS(557), NH (523), ML(2119), and PG(326). AND we also saw a marked resurgence in the species that had been declining for more than 10 years: SSs(543) and AKs(1645)!

8,000th Osprey counted at FIRE, 5,000th Peregrine still to come.  In early August coverage this year Bobby Kurtz counted the 8,000th OS we've seen since '82. And if we can manage to get 2 more PGs in "11 than in '10, it will bring our total PGs counted since '82 to 5,000!

For all the facts and figures check out the stats and graphs, beginning with the yearly summary, dailies, and species information.

We still need help covering all the days from 9/10-11/13. Won't you consider spending a day helping us out down at the beach. Coverage still needed for Saturdays 10/22,  11/12 and Sunday 11/13.  If you can help us out on one or more of these days, just let me know.

Hope to see you down at the beach.

Bobby Kurtz counted our 8,000th Osprey in Aug 2011

Drew's Panko Press:  2010 was a GREAT year!
return of the Kestrel   new records for OS, NH, & ML!
2010 data

This Short-eared Owl sat nervously in the cedars as the wind whipped through the branches and a Merlin sat behind it to the left.

Short-eared Owl at Fire, Oct 16, 2010

Short-eared Videos:  This Owl at FIREOn Winter Territory

  PG videos:
1. From the dunes 2. Down the pike 3. Past the bridge 4. Around the owl

 Trends by Video!  Check out our 4 videos showing the Fire Island Hawk Watch, and Trends for Peregrines, Merlins, and Kestrels! Look for photos of you, photos of the hawks, and videos of the hawks. Also, check out the trends. Are you correct to think that the PGs are increasing? What about the Merlins? Are the Kestrels really declining? If so, why? Here we discuss the trends relative to ecology. 

Merlins speed past the watch site.  Don't miss them!

Merlins everywhere! on perch, overhead, all around


Come join us.
Watch with us, count with
us, and enjoy the fun!

Merlins often stop for lunch near the Fire Island Hawk Watch.  This ML is dining on a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Robert Moses Bridge board walk
Experience Fire Island 

Report Form:  Excel, HMANA pdf

We average 180
Peregrines a year! 

Come help us
count them!


Hawkwatch:  FIRE (Fire Island Raptor Enumerators)


Panko Press, 11/04/10 edition

Sep 2010 edition


 It's been a GREAT year!
AKs are coming through in numbers not seen for 15 years (since 1994)!
OS, NH, & PG are all 80% and more above average.
The Sharpies and Kestrels are both less than 10% below average. We have not seen this many SS in 9 years and this number of AKs in 16 years.
We have set new yearly records for OS, NH, & ML!
We need only 5 more PG to tie its record.  
The large increases in the SSs and AKs this year over recent years, plus a RL, and 2 Short-eared Owls, amount to an incredible year - and it is not over yet!


Notable days to date(10/1/10-11/2/10)

                Dev. from 27 Yr Ave
  Oct 3 Oct 9 Oct 12 Oct 16 Oct 22 Oct 29 TD
OS 86 20 27 5 4 3 554 82%
BE 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 avg is 2.7
NH 53 23 28 9 4 28 486 +103%
SS 8 22 14 16 34 56 519 -6.3%
CH 1 1 0 3 0 4 41 +59%
NG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
RS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
BW 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
RT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
RL 0 0 0 0 0 0 1  
AK 43 52 4 4 29 87 1664 -1.6%
ML 60 121 50 63 64 59 2090 +55%
PG 4 23 55 25 6 6 315 +88%
U 1 0 0 1 0 0 17  
TOT 257 263 178 126 141 243 5663 +29%

(numbers are tentative until final reports are submitted)
The last column is the deviation from our 27-year average.
TD is the total, To Date, for all days covered.

This year continues to go like gang busters! 
Led by AKs and MLs, we are well above our 27 year average.  The early AKs should be all hatching year birds, suggesting a good breeding year.  The numbers will have to be looked at carefully but the strong showing of AKs late in the year suggests good numbers of adults, and therefore better than average over- wintering survival last year. They will wind up less than 10% below average - compared to 60% - 70% below in the last few years.

The ML numbers are also extraordinary!  Their numbers have been good but dropping over the last 4 years, but this year reverses that trend in a big way!

  Moments after this photo, this Bluejack used this perch to dine on Golden-crowned Kinglet

Adult Merlin, "BlueJack"

Sharp-shinned Hawk flies overhead.   The OS climbed to a new yearly high - they are now at 554, old record 508 - with steady day to day numbers.
The NH also have set a new record with 486 so far and still going strong (old record 434).
SSs are over 500 for the first time since 2001, and less than 10% below average.
CHs are a little low compared to their average over the last 5 years, but still very high compared to our 27 year average.
The single RL seen so far is the first in 8 years.

The PG flight has been late but strong.  We are currently 5 PGs shy of the record of 320 set in 2008.  Will we break it?  We have a week to go and good winds coming for the weekend.
We are 1200 total hawks above the average.  The high numbers of total hawks (TH) reflects the great flights of AKs & MLs.

I can't close without noting the extraordinary flights of 10/29 - 11/2.  22 (of 40) daily records were broken.  Every day the all time daily high of AKs was broken and on 4 of the 5 days the record highs of THs were broken.  Truly an exceptional 5 days.


Panko Press, 9/30/10 edition


It's been a GREAT September!
AKs are coming through in numbers not seen for 15 years (since 1994)!
OS, ML, & NH are all 90% and more above average.
The Sharpies are lagging 23% below average,
but that is still well above the last several years.
CH are doing well - but it is not significant yet -
the main flight has yet to arrive.
And the PGs are slightly below average - but again not significantly so
because it is too early in the season for the main flight.


Notable days to date(9/30/10)

                Dev. from 27 Yr Ave
  9-Sep 10-Sep 15-Sep 17-Sep 20-Sep 26-Sep TD
OS 31 76 24 9 108 24 388 +108%
BE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 avg is .71
NH 3 8 12 10 38 17 142 +90%
SS 0 3 4 8 66 2 106 -23%
CH 1 0 3 0 1 0 10 +178%
NG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
RS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
BW 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
RT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
RL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
AK 73 37 262 26 722 37 1211 +40%
ML 38 84 264 161 226 37 1154 +87%
PG 1 0 0 1 0 16 25 -22%
U 0 0 0 1 3 2 7  
TOT 21 73 94 161 442 92 3005 +56%

(numbers are tentative until final reports are submitted)
The last column is the deviation from our 27-year average, for the most common species.
The next to last column - labeled TD - is the total, To Date, for all days covered.

This year is going like gang busters! Led by AKs, and MLs we are well above our 27 year average. The early AKs should be all hatching year birds, which is great. They must have had a good breeding year. We should expect a drop off in AKs as the adults start coming through - however, if we don't, that will indicate that it wasn't such a good breeding year, but that a extraordinary number of last year's hatch birds survived the winter and both the north and south migration to breed this past spring.
  American Kestrel stages a comeback!

American Kestrel at FIRE

Merlins are 90% above their average numbers by Sep 30th!
The ML numbers are even more extraordinary! Almost 90% above average and about 50% through their migration window. As with the AKs these have been hatching year birds and we'll see how the adults do as the season progresses. 

The SS numbers are a little low - but it is still too early to tell, barely 20% of their season is past and their numbers are improved over what they've been the last 15 years. The OS numbers are very high, but this may be a weather effect - we only get a small percentage of all the OS that pass inland and if the wind/weather are such that a slightly higher percentage of OS come out to the barrier beach then we'll have a good year, while the total regional count is still just average.

Merlin at FIRE

It is really too early to evaluate how the PGs (-22%), NHs (+90%) and CHs (+178%)
are doing because, as with the SSs, we are too early in the season - less than 20%
of the season has passed for these birds.
The high numbers of total hawks (TH) reflects the great flights of AKs & MLs.
Be on the lookout for the next cold front. We're in Peregrine season!
Check out the trend analysis for the falcons:
Let's hope that 2010 is the year of the return of the American Kestrel!


2009 Data

Panko Press, 2009 Season Summary

Peregrine Falcon flying over the Fire Island Hawk Watch
Click for 2009 PG videos


After a very slow September,
the PGs show up and steal the show!
CH are above average and ML at their 20 year average.

OS and NH numbers are below average, but nowhere as low as the SS & AK numbers.
Both SS & AK numbers are so low as to be
very worrisome and worthy of further study on their breeding grounds.

2009 Compared to the 20-yr Average

  2009 Total 20 YR AVG Deviation fr 20-yr ave
OS 264 305 -16%
BE 1 3


NH 181 230 -21%
SS 291 455 -36%
CH 47 28 +70%
NG 1 2


RS 0 0


BW 0 0


RT 1