I wanted to tell you earlier. I really did! In fact, I wanted to shout the results for this spring’s count from the rooftops! But, a feeling inside me implored me to wait: audit the data first, ensure that the count forms have been faithfully transcribed electronically. It may mean the news isn’t as timely as it was two weeks ago, but at least this news would be fit to print!
In a very real sense, this count hasn’t quite ended for me. While I’ve been off the mountain a few weeks, I’m now back in New York wading knee-high in all the data we collected this spring. Indeed, I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of watching dawn break these past few days as I work in Microsoft Excel under the spell of a coffee buzz; each row and column needed to be checked. But was it worth it? (*twitch*twitch*) Heck Yes! An arithmetic error on one sheet yielded a few extra Turkey Vulture; an oversight on another yielded an Osprey that never got entered; and then there were the occasional typos with age/sex classes (putting down, say, 3 adult Red-tailed Hawk for the hour instead of 3 juvenile Red-tailed Hawk). This is hardly unexpected; in fact, I was surprised by how few mistakes were made in the course of three full months of data collection! We’ve got quite a team here.
So without further interruption (*cue drum roll and nervous anticipation*):
1 Black Vulture, 477 Turkey Vulture, 21 Osprey, 545 Bald Eagle, 80 Northern Harrier, 2425 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 7 Cooper’s Hawk, 23 Northern Goshawk, 5 Red-shouldered Hawk, 9346 Broad-winged Hawk, 4 Swainson’s Hawk, 745 Red-tailed Hawk, 98 Rough-legged Hawk, 23 Golden Eagle, 114 American Kestrel, 28 Merlin, 34 Peregrine Falcon. When you include the 24 raptors that were identifiable only to genus or family level, the seasonal tally is kicked up to exactly 14,000 raptors of 17 species. (If I hadn’t seen the species breakdown, this figure would seem almost too exact to be believable. Cool!)
We also recorded 104 species of non-raptors, including 20,625 Canada Goose, 546 Common Loon, and 382 Sandhill Crane. Not shabby! The Common Raven nesting on West Bluff also raised two rambunctious youngsters, which kept me excellent company in the final weeks of the count and were most fun to watch!
So, with the season behind us and the report nearly done, I close what may be my last entry on the Keweenaw Raptor Survey blog. So long my friends, but not goodbye!
With Fond Regards from New York,