Each September, bird watchers are treated with the majestic sight of hawk migration – and you can see it, too, even if you aren’t the type to normally go out “birding.”
Hawk Watch is a national community science program that relies on the data gathered by volunteers. There are many, many sites to watch from in Connecticut: the Larson Sanctuary in Fairfield, Boothe Memorial Park in Stratford, Flirt Hill in Easton, Waveny Park in New Canaan, and Quaker Ridge in Greenwich among them. Don’t live near one of these? Check out the official Hawk Watch site here: https://hawkwatch.org/participate/go-hawkwatching
Why hawks and other birds of prey? Birds of prey, called raptors, are apex predators, meaning they occupy a significant position in the food web. As an indicator species, their population numbers can provide a cost-effective means to discerning changes in the environment.
As an aside, if you keep chickens and enjoy letting them free range, now is the time to keep your chickens behind hawk-proof fencing – particularly in the afternoons while hungry hawks are making their way through the state. Raptors are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and harming one can come with a hefty penalty. Better to limit your chickens free ranging if you wish to avoid one of them becoming a meal!