Hawkwatch looks promising this year

News Mar 25, 2016 by Natalie Paddon The Hamilton Spectator

The dampness might have kept some hawks away, but it didn't scare bird enthusiasts from gathering at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area on Good Friday.

Dozens of people — many with binoculars around their necks — milled about in the muddy grass at the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch's annual open house to learn more about the hawk migration.

The event has been held for more than 20 years, but hawk watchers have been gathering on the Grimsby grounds each spring since the mid 1970s, tallying the numbers and types of migrating eagles, falcons and vultures passing over the conservation area.

Mike Street, who co-ordinates the hawk counters, said bird-spottings were off to a slow start Friday morning.

"Given the weather (Thursday), there wasn't much movement."

There are approximately 15 counters this year. They started gathering data for eight hours daily starting March 1 and will continue through the middle of May.

While it's still early in the season, Street said there have been more hawk sightings this March thanks to a warmer winter and earlier spring.

It's expected counters will see approximately 15,000 birds flying through this spring, said Hawkwatch special events co-ordinator Bruce Mackenzie.

That number is down from 2011, when the count peaked at more than 20,000 birds, but is up from the 11,000 to 15,000 tallied over the past few years.

The Grimsby area sees a "funneling effect" as these birds migrate north and fly around the Great Lakes instead of over them.

"There are not that many places in Ontario where you can take advantage of this kind of opportunity to observe nature," Mackenzie said.

For these birdwatchers, it's not just about their interest in the colours and behaviours of the hawks flying overhead. The count is also about the data collected, which is input into an online system through the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

"It's citizen science is what it is," Street said. "Until 10 or 12 years ago, we were sort of sneered at by the professionals.

"The professionals have started to realize that even if we don't know as much as they do about ornithology or whatever … there's data."

npaddon@thespec.com

905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

Hawkwatch looks promising this year

News Mar 25, 2016 by Natalie Paddon The Hamilton Spectator

The dampness might have kept some hawks away, but it didn't scare bird enthusiasts from gathering at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area on Good Friday.

Dozens of people — many with binoculars around their necks — milled about in the muddy grass at the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch's annual open house to learn more about the hawk migration.

The event has been held for more than 20 years, but hawk watchers have been gathering on the Grimsby grounds each spring since the mid 1970s, tallying the numbers and types of migrating eagles, falcons and vultures passing over the conservation area.

Mike Street, who co-ordinates the hawk counters, said bird-spottings were off to a slow start Friday morning.

"Given the weather (Thursday), there wasn't much movement."

There are approximately 15 counters this year. They started gathering data for eight hours daily starting March 1 and will continue through the middle of May.

While it's still early in the season, Street said there have been more hawk sightings this March thanks to a warmer winter and earlier spring.

It's expected counters will see approximately 15,000 birds flying through this spring, said Hawkwatch special events co-ordinator Bruce Mackenzie.

That number is down from 2011, when the count peaked at more than 20,000 birds, but is up from the 11,000 to 15,000 tallied over the past few years.

The Grimsby area sees a "funneling effect" as these birds migrate north and fly around the Great Lakes instead of over them.

"There are not that many places in Ontario where you can take advantage of this kind of opportunity to observe nature," Mackenzie said.

For these birdwatchers, it's not just about their interest in the colours and behaviours of the hawks flying overhead. The count is also about the data collected, which is input into an online system through the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

"It's citizen science is what it is," Street said. "Until 10 or 12 years ago, we were sort of sneered at by the professionals.

"The professionals have started to realize that even if we don't know as much as they do about ornithology or whatever … there's data."

npaddon@thespec.com

905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

Hawkwatch looks promising this year

News Mar 25, 2016 by Natalie Paddon The Hamilton Spectator

The dampness might have kept some hawks away, but it didn't scare bird enthusiasts from gathering at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area on Good Friday.

Dozens of people — many with binoculars around their necks — milled about in the muddy grass at the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch's annual open house to learn more about the hawk migration.

The event has been held for more than 20 years, but hawk watchers have been gathering on the Grimsby grounds each spring since the mid 1970s, tallying the numbers and types of migrating eagles, falcons and vultures passing over the conservation area.

Mike Street, who co-ordinates the hawk counters, said bird-spottings were off to a slow start Friday morning.

"Given the weather (Thursday), there wasn't much movement."

There are approximately 15 counters this year. They started gathering data for eight hours daily starting March 1 and will continue through the middle of May.

While it's still early in the season, Street said there have been more hawk sightings this March thanks to a warmer winter and earlier spring.

It's expected counters will see approximately 15,000 birds flying through this spring, said Hawkwatch special events co-ordinator Bruce Mackenzie.

That number is down from 2011, when the count peaked at more than 20,000 birds, but is up from the 11,000 to 15,000 tallied over the past few years.

The Grimsby area sees a "funneling effect" as these birds migrate north and fly around the Great Lakes instead of over them.

"There are not that many places in Ontario where you can take advantage of this kind of opportunity to observe nature," Mackenzie said.

For these birdwatchers, it's not just about their interest in the colours and behaviours of the hawks flying overhead. The count is also about the data collected, which is input into an online system through the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

"It's citizen science is what it is," Street said. "Until 10 or 12 years ago, we were sort of sneered at by the professionals.

"The professionals have started to realize that even if we don't know as much as they do about ornithology or whatever … there's data."

npaddon@thespec.com

905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec