2009 SEASON SUMMARY
- We have 2 new records this year
Bald Eagle and Turkey Vulture.
- A Rough-legged Hawk made an
appearance for the 1st time since 1991.
- We counted 10,450 hawks, the
highest since 1999, including 6800 BWs.
- We counted only 154 AK this year
another dismal low, and our 2nd year less than
Year of the Bald Eagle
This was definitely the Year of the Bald
Eagle. Wow, did we break the record! We counted 125 Bald Eagles
this year! That is 43 more than our previous record of 82 in
2008. Prior to then, our high was 77 BEs in 2001. It is truly
amazing to see the recovery of this once-endangered species.
This season, to
Average since 1971:
Average last 10 years:
We also counted a record number of Turkey
Vultures this year, totaling 696. Our previous record was 557 in
2006, so this is a substantial increase: 139 more TVs than 2006,
and 468 more than last year! Thanks to all of you who took the
extra effort to watch those TVs disappear and not circle back.
Rough-legged Hawk since 1991!
The Rough-legged Hawk (dark phase) seen on
Nov 2, 2009 was the 20th on record at Hook. The year
record is 3 in both 1975 and 1977. Rough-legged Hawk is the third
rarest species at Hook, after our one Swallow-tailed Kite last
year and two Swainsons Hawks, one each in two successive years,
1991 and 1992. After Rough-leg, the next rarest species at Hook
is Golden Eagle. We have counted 162 GEs since 1971, eight times
the number of Rough-legs. So,
having a Rough-leg fly over Hook this year is indeed a special
(2 new videos -
GE on Hook and a
light phase RL on winter territory )
Nov 2, 2009
Broad-winged Hawk: 2 days with more than 2000
The Broadwing count of 6,803 is our best
since 2001, with more than 2000 BWs counted on two separate days
and more than 1000 counted on a third day. (See
Broadwing Hawks in 7 Years.) Many of the BWs were in kettles
that passed right over Hook, with beautiful views. Some BWs were
not as close. Thanks to all those watchers who helped pick them
out of the clear blue sky. Your keen observation skills are
essential to our count.
2009: The best
Broad-winged Hawks in 7 Years
2074 BWs on 9/20!
2071 BWs on 9/19!
1411 BWs on 9/15!
The Broad-winged Hawks (BW) are flying over and around Hook
Mountain! Tuesday, 9/15, was a big day with 1411 BWs, but
Saturday, 9/19, was even bigger, AND Sunday, 9/20 was bigger
yet, by 3 hawks, logging in at 2074 BWs. We counted 2071 BWs in one
day, and 2074 on the next!! That brings our total for this year to
6658 BWs, the best
BW count we have had in 7 years. And, we can still get more,
with another week or so before the end of the BW season. For
the year to year trends for BW, see
Hook Mountain Broad-winged Hawks: 1971 2008.
Celebrate our counters!
Click for BW video
Counts for two other species were above the
average of the last 5 years: 37 Black Vultures, and 36 Peregrine
Falcons. Species below the average of the last 5 years were:
82 Northern Harriers, 154 American Kestrels, 36 Merlins, and 5
Northern Harriers: well below average
At 31% below the 10 year average and 40%
below the average since 1985, the Northern Harrier count of 82 is
the 5th lowest count at Hook. The four lower counts
were: 69 in 1992, 70 in 1996, 71 in 1991, and 76 in 2004.
NH at Hook)
American Kestrel: Cause
American Kestrel continues to be a species
with cause for concern. (See
) The count of 154 this year is basically the same as the rock
bottom AK count last year of 152. These are the only two years
since 1971 with a count under 200. Our Kestrel count dropped
below 300 in 2003 and, with the exception of 2007, has been less
than 300 ever since. These last two years look dismally like a
continuing decrease in Kestrels, with annual totals less than
Kestrel Trends at Fire Island for possible causes for this
decline. We can only hope that our next few years at Hook will
show that these very low counts are a turning point as Kestrel
two Big G's
As for our two Big Gs Goldens and Gos;
seeing these species is always a thrill! There were 5 Golden
Eagles - a little less than the average for the last five years,
and 5 Northern Goshawks - at the average for the last five years,
but definitely better than last year's count of 1. The Golden
average is weighted by the very unusual high count of 20 in 2006,
the only year with double digits.
Special thanks to those
who submitted the data sheets. You make Hook Mountain a hawk
watch! Thanks also to all those who helped find the hawks and
count them. We need your eyes!
We watch hawks for the
thrill of seeing these magnificent raptors. We count hawks to
accomplish raptor conservation. Thank you!
Trudy Battaly, compiler