North America’s Largest Predatory Bird to Visit Hawk Mountain
Visitors to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, can see North America’s largest predatory bird during one-day-only programs on “Golden Eagle Saturday,” held Saturday, November 14 at Noon and 2 pm and presented by Carbon County Environmental Center. The presentations coincide with the peak of golden eagle migration at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Programs are free for members, require proof of trail admission for non-members, and will be held in the Outdoor Amphitheater or indoors in the event of rain.
A solitary and secretive bird, the golden eagle is rare to see throughout the northeast, but during autumn, an average 127 are spotted at Hawk Mountain, most during the first two weeks in November. The bird sails by on plank-like wings that stretch more than seven feet and golden eagles typically migrate alone, heading south on updrafts and thermals along the Kittatinny Ridge or “Blue Mountain.”
Early November also is the best time to see both bald and golden eagles in the air on the same day, serving up a rare opportunity to glimpse the two enormous raptors in the wild. The golden eagles that do pass are moving south from remote nesting grounds in Quebec and the chilly, northern provinces of Canada.
“Golden and bald eagles may fly close to the lookouts, particularly on windy days,” says Director of Long-term Monitoring Dr. Laurie Goodrich. “Migration is the best opportunity to see this species in the eastern states and November is the time to see them here,” she adds.
Visitors in early November can also expect to see larger numbers of red-tailed hawks, the Sanctuary’s third most numerous migrant, as well as rarer birds of the north, such as the northern goshawk. The official Hawk Mountain raptor count is held annually, August 15 to December 15. As the world’s first refuge for birds of prey, the Sanctuary boasts the longest-running database of hawk migration in the world.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a non-profit, member-support organization located just seven miles north of the I-78/Route 61 Cabela’s intersection. For more information on weekend programs, weather forecasts, the latest raptor count, or more, call the info line at 610-756-6000, visit the website at www.hawkmountain.org or call the Visitor Center during regular business hours at 610-756-6961.
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