For the Birds Radio Program: Hawk Ridge Weekend 2007
Every September, tens of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks pass over Hawk Ridge in Duluth. People gather at the ridge to enjoy and celebrate the spectacle. On days when the winds have an easterly component, the number of humans sometimes exceeds the number of hawks. But when the winds have a westerly component, especially when they’re out of the northwest, the hawk migration can take your breath away, and has at least once outnumbered the entire human population of Duluth, when fully 102,329 hawks passed over on September 15. 2003.
This year from September 21 through September 23, we’re celebrating Hawk Ridge Weekend. This weekend is always a great gathering of birders from throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even farther, and often coincides with the peak of migration. Every year there are evening programs. This year on Friday night Julie O’Connor will be speaking about downtown Duluth’s breeding Peregrine Falcons. On Saturday night after a delicious sustainable meal prepared by the First United Methodist Church’s Sustainability Group, we’ll hear from Brian Millsap about radio-tracking raptors in Florida. Brian Millsap currently works for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Division, in New Mexico. He is also former Chief of the Division of Migratory Bird Management for the U.S. FWS in Arlington, Virginia. I’m especially looking forward to his presentation because my son Joe works in Florida and so I visit there once or twice every year.
Besides the evening programs there will be daytime programs held on Saturday afternoon at Duluth’s coppertop church about the Lake Superior Birding Trail, the Lake Superior Hiking Trail and earthworms of north country. There will be birding field trips on Saturday and Sunday morning—I’ll be leading one of the trips each morning. And then of course there’s the actual focus of the program—Hawk Ridge’s exceptional migration. A count interpreter will be pointing out hawks and helping identify them, the volunteer and professional naturalists will be bringing banded hawks to the main overlook from the banding station so people can see these gorgeous birds up close and personal, and other activities will be going on throughout the days at the overlook.
Details about the schedule and how to get to activities are available at the Hawk Ridge website, at Hawk Ridge.org. If you have a chance to get up there, come on over and say hi and enjoy this annual, splendid spectacle. If you can’t, you can still keep up with the fall migration at the hawk ridge.org website. We’ve had one day with 9500 birds, but the huge push is yet to come. This weekend may just be the time it happens.