That’s it!

Well, the season is over. We ended the year with just under 9600 raptors. You can find all the final numbers on the Hawkcount website:

Brockway Mountain Hawkcount!

I really enjoyed my time up on the mountain this spring. I saw a lot of very interesting things and met many interesting and friendly folks. I’d like to thank Skye Haas, who’s idea it was to put someone up on Brockway to count raptors and who helped me be that person. Thanks to Greg Cleary, Zach Gayk and Joe Youngman as well for all their help organizing and getting the count up and running. The people of Copper Harbor were very supportive, especially Ken Stigers of The Pines for providing the cabin for me to live in and Bill and Bonnie Degowski of the Tamarack Inn for coming up and visiting me on the Mountain and for the delicious breakfasts at the restaurant. Thanks to everyone else who came to visit throughout the season and a big thanks to everyone who brought me food up there!

So long-



Tomorrow is the last day! Greg, Zach and Joe came up and took down the shack today.

There was heavy fog for the first hour and a half, then intermittent fog for the next hour. That gave us enough time to get the shack taken apart and ready to move. Once the fog lifted, there was a little movement for the next hour; 22 BROAD-WINGS and 2 RED-TAILS. Whao-hoo!! And that was it…


I guess I missed 4. Rain yesterday ended the count at noon and fog today allowed for only two hours of counting. In that time I saw 1 TURKEY VULTURE!!

Three days left.


Five days left and 5 birds yesterday. 2 BROAD-WINGS, 1 TURKEY VULTURE, 1 MERLIN and 1 UNIDENTIFIABLE BUTEO.

At least 2 Alder Flycatchers are nesting on the hill

7 June…

Zach counted today for me. Winds were out of the south around 5 MPH. Temps were around 17C.

Here are the numbers for today:


Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               7             38            765
Osprey                       0              2             45
Bald Eagle                   3             12            785
Northern Harrier             0              1            146
Sharp-shinned Hawk           0              0           1619
Cooper's Hawk                0              0             22
Northern Goshawk             0              0             29
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              0             10
Broad-winged Hawk           13            125           4852
Red-tailed Hawk              2             10            687
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0            123
Golden Eagle                 0              0             33
American Kestrel             0              1            101
Merlin                       0              0             43
Peregrine Falcon             0              0             23
Unknown Accipiter            0              0             22
Unknown Buteo                0              1            115
Unknown Falcon               0              0             10
Unknown Eagle                0              0             16
Unknown Raptor               0              0             19
Swainson's Hawk              0              0              6

Total:                      25            190           9471

It doesn’t look good for breaking 10K birds this season.

11 days left and migration has really tapered off. Over the last two days about 50 BROAD-WINGS, 2 RED-TAILS and 4 BALD EAGLES have been recorded. There seems to be a more Adult Broad-wings, I’m starting to wonder if some/most aren’t local.

The local young COMMON RAVENS have been hanging around the top of the hill, squawking all day long. I thought that there were 5 originally, but lately I’ve only seen four. The other day, the 4 landed along the road. I think they were picking at the seed on the ground! They were walking around and pecking like funny looking chickens:

Lots of breeders on and around the hill now too. There are at least 3 CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, a half dozen INDIGO BUNTINGS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, MOURNING WARBLER, and CEDAR WAXWINGS.

Cedar Waxwing

The number of butterflies is on the up as well. Lots of CANADA TIGER SWALLOWTAILS, RED ADMIRAL, AMERICAN LADY, AZURES, MOURNING CLOAK and NORTHERN CRESCENT. Dragonflies have tapered off, though a group of AMERICAN EMERALDS (I think) have been helping keep the flies down around my head. I haven’t positively ID’ed BASKTETTAIL (SPINY?) yet , but I like the photo:



The big excitement on the hill was a massive dragonfly hatch somewhere east of Brockway. There were about 25-50 flying west per second for nearly two straight hours! None stopped, but the one I was able to catch was a FOUR-SPOTTED SKIMMER, though from what I could see, the majority of the dragonflies appeared to be another species.

Is raptor migration slowing down? Conditions early today seemed to be right for a decent flight, but the morning only yielded 8 BALD EAGLES, 5 RED-TAILS and 51 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS. As the day progressed however, the winds switched from the S to the NW, and the temp dropped from a high of 21C around noon to 14C at count’s end. With two weeks left, we are sloowwwly approaching 10K eastbound birds on the year. I hope we make it!


The mountain has been showing it’s two very different spring sides this week. Monday and Tuesday were in the 80′s sunny with south winds. In those two days nearly 500 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS (mostly juveniles), several COOPER’S HAWKS, a juvenile DARK MORPH RED-TAILED HAWK, a handful of OSPREY and SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS and a decent push of IMMATURE BALD EAGLES, about 50 in those two days.


The last two days have been much cooler, in the 60′s with a cold north wind blowing off the lake. There have still been a few BROAD-WINGS in the last two days, though only around 50 in those two days. Yesterday there was also a push of about 400 CANADA GEESE.

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk

There is a bit more noisy on the hill recently too. Several CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS have set up territories and a MOURNING WARBLER has been singing in the underbrush for the last few days as well. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and INDIGO BUNTINGS are also singing away from the treetops. The local COMMON RAVENS fledged and the youngsters have been testing their wings on the updraft off the mountain face:

Chestnut-sided Warbler

North winds again today, but they are supposed to start to switch around to the south through the weekend. Just a little over 2 weeks to go in the survey!


Yesterday on Brockway was the Laurie Binford Memorial. About 30 people came up to the mountain to share their stories and memories of Laurie. Laurie’s Magnum Opus “Birds of the Keweenaw Peninsula” is the definitive work regarding bird records in the Keweenaw.  A great piece about Laurie’s days in California can be found here:

Who Was Who in California Birding

Laurie Binford on Brockway Mountain in 2009. Photo by Joe Kaplan

Winds yesterday were strong out of the south for most of the day. There was a decent push of immature BALD EAGLES throughout the day, primarily 1st year birds. Totals for the day, month and season are below.


Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture              20            193            637
Osprey                       3             15             36
Bald Eagle                  25            116            717
Northern Harrier             1              9            141
Sharp-shinned Hawk          40            870           1546
Cooper's Hawk                0             12             19
Northern Goshawk             0              6             27
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              1              9
Broad-winged Hawk          224           3517           3697
Red-tailed Hawk              5             86            633
Rough-legged Hawk            0             16            122
Golden Eagle                 0              7             31
American Kestrel             1             28             99
Merlin                       2             18             38
Peregrine Falcon             1             11             20
Unknown Accipiter            0              4             20
Unknown Buteo                0             61            108
Unknown Falcon               0              4             10
Unknown Eagle                0              0             16
Unknown Raptor               0              5             16
Swainson's Hawk              0              4              5

Total:                     322           4983           7947

21 May

The Broad-wings that are coming through now are starting to look pretty beat up:

Here are today’s numbers as well as the season totals:

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Turkey Vulture               9            170            614
Osprey                       2             10             31
Bald Eagle                   6             90            691
Northern Harrier             3              8            140
Sharp-shinned Hawk          20            825           1501
Cooper's Hawk                0             12             19
Northern Goshawk             0              6             27
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              1              9
Broad-winged Hawk          143           3249           3429
Red-tailed Hawk              4             79            626
Rough-legged Hawk            0             16            122
Golden Eagle                 0              7             31
American Kestrel             0             26             97
Merlin                       1             15             35
Peregrine Falcon             0             10             19
Unknown Accipiter            0              4             20
Unknown Buteo                1             61            108
Unknown Falcon               0              4             10
Unknown Eagle                0              0             16
Unknown Raptor               0              5             16
Swainson's Hawk              0              4              5

Total:                     189           4602           7566

Jow Youngman is giving a talk tomorrow on the KRS at the Copper Harbor Birding Festival and Zach Gayk will be counting for me again. Weather looks pleasant at least to be on the mountain. I’m not going to try to predict if it’ll be a good flight. Come on up and check it out!


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