Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Citizen Science

Chris Petherick Shares His Raptor Watch Experience

"With winds whipping out of the west today my goal was to head to Lake Michigan and watch for hawks along the bluff somewhere. I decided that it’d be fun to head over to the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, as I haven’t really spent much time there to date. When I got there I found Calvin (from Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory) at the hawk watching platform. Over the next few hours we observed ~300 broad-winged hawks in kettles varying in size from 20-30 hawks up to 75+. It’s the first time I have observed that and it was pretty cool. We watched sharp-shinned hawks migrating south the entire time we were there, some coming very close to the platform. We also had a few bald eagles, a number of Cooper’s hawks, an osprey, a peregrine falcon, 3 northern harriers, quite a few red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures. I counted 3 kestrels as well as over a dozen merlin. Having the opportunity to watch for a few hours straight with someone as knowledgeable as Calvin really helped me with my raptor ID skills - it was a great learning experience for me and a lot of fun. Also seen from the platform was a redheaded woodpecker, some turkeys and a few Northern Flickers.

Walking the trails I located a single phoebe, a few pine siskin (with Bill Mueller’s ears initially finding them), a redstart and a meadowlark among the more common stuff."