|Nearly 300 K-12 students from seven schools in Houghton, Baraga and Keweenaw counties ascended Brockway Mountain this spring, to view the annual raptor migration.
Research Engineer Dana Richter, forestry student Auriel Van De Laar, and members of the Copper Country Audubon Club helped students identify the raptors using binoculars, a spotting scope, and field guides–as well as learn about raptor characteristics and migration routes.
Each spring, thousands of hawks, eagles and other raptors fly north along the Keweenaw Peninsula looking for a way to cross Lake Superior. As the birds reach the tip of the peninsula, some ride updrafts of warm air over Lake Superior, while others circle back and head for Duluth where they can follow the shoreline north.
In April and May, people from all over the region visit this well-known scenic overlook for an, amazing view of raptors soaring by at eye level.
Despite the popularity of the spring raptor migration among local and regional “birders,” few K-12 students have ever heard of the raptor migration.
The Keweenaw Raptor Survey is a project of Copper Country Audubon and Laughing Whitefish Audubon of Marquette. Arthur Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), a professional hawk-counter, is stationed on the mountain from March to June to count the raptors passing overhead. Sixteen species of raptors totaling almost 10,000 birds were counted in 2010.
The 140 birds viewed on April 29 included: turkey vulture, osprey, bald eagle , northern harrier, sharp-shinned hawk, cooper’s hawk, northern goshawk, red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk , golden American kestrel, merlin and peregrine falcon
The staff of the Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education organized the event.
For more information, visit: www.keweenawraptorsurvey.org .