Bird migration

If you have noticed a large group of hawks or other birds of prey over our mountain ridges you might be witnessing the annual hawk migration. Hawks, eagles, ospreys, and falcons are like a lot of birds that migrate from their northern breeding grounds to southern wintering areas.

Some species of raptors travel as far south as South America while other species like the Coopers hawk are full time residents. Raptors tend to travel well-defined routes that allow them to take advantage of updrafts that make it easier to stay aloft. These routes often follow coastlines, rivers, and mountain ridges. Hawks begin their migration in mid-September with the most activity occurring from mid-October through November in our area. There are hawk watching hotspots throughout the region. A good local observation area is Washington Monument State Park at the monument.

Red-shouldered hawk

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are also leaving. Most of our nesting birds leave the region by mid October. However, it is important to keep hummingbird and other bird feeders filled for a few weeks. Birds leaving more northern areas are passing through our state now. Migrants need additional energy for the trip south, and this is the time when non-breeding hummingbirds start showing up in Maryland.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature Note for 10/12/14