Have you ever seen birds of prey migrating? Thanks to the Hawk Migration Association of North America and its hawkcount.org web page, one can closely follow the migration of hundreds of thousands of hawks, eagles, vultures, kites, ospreys and other raptors. Yesterday, for example, 325 raptors (two-thirds of them red-tailed hawks) were counted flying south through Waggoner's Gap in Pennsylvania; 693 (nearly all of them turkey vultures) were tallied at Sassafras Mountain in South Carolina; and 16,249 (three-quarters of them turkey vultures and 3,020 of them Swainson's hawks, the longest-migrating birds of prey, now heading for southern South America after nesting as far north as northern Alaska) were seen from the Semaphore Mountain Canopy Tower in central Panama, a country through which massive numbers of migrating birds of prey funnel each October and November in one of the world's great nature spectacles.
Here is a sampling (from 18 U.S. states and one Canadian province) of some of the wonderful hawk photos you've shared with us this fall. Identifying a hawk from a single photo can be challenging because one species can have multiple color morphs and look different as an adult and a juvenile. Size, setting, behavior and spread-wings silhouette can be very helpful in correctly identifying a hawk. That said, hope you enjoy these photos of red-tailed, red-shouldered, Cooper's, ferruginous, Swainson's and sharp-tailed hawks, with special thanks to Noelle Jorge, Jay Spring and Sangeeta Chakraborty for their multiple shots.
(If you enjoy our Facebook posts and want to see more, please take a few seconds to "like" our page. You can find it by clicking on "The Naturalist's Notebook" above. We're excited that so many of you are tuned in to nature and science. Thank you—and feel free to pass the word to others! Our website is thenaturalistsnotebook.com.)
Turkeys are some of the most recognizable birds in this country. Holidays like Thanksgiving give us great excuses to learn more than recipes about turkeys and discuss their intriguing history, make turkey-inspired …
We need rebuttals on the ODNR Facebook page. Thanks! They are breaking an no-commerical-logging-in-Mohican-State-Forest agreement that was hammered out over three years period by an ad hoc committee.
DOF took people on this only-publicized-to-a-few tour.* The areas they want to timber do not look like this pine plantation. The areas they want to timber are lovely, maturing forests. They insist that they have to take out the white pines.** The white pines, at this point, are coexisting nicely with the hardwood trees in the area that they really want to log.
The "healthy forests" are the ones they really want to get their hands on. The white pines are bigger there and there is a market for them. The logging process will compact the soil of the recovering forest floor. There go the ferns, fungi, and spring wildflowers. The process will also introduce the opportunity for more and more invasive plant species to take hold. Invasive species were not as big a problem "decades ago." Now they are a massive problem. DOF has no willingness, manpower, or funding to tackle the huge invasive species problems that they create when they timber our state forests.
So conveeenient for them to show this red pine plantation in their PR stunt.
*DOF made sure to tell the press about it, so they could sell their mismanagement plan without any questions from concerned citizens.
**White pines are a native species that makes Mohican Memorial State Forest a unique ecosystem ...
ODNR Foresters care about the health of entire forests.
For example, the first picture is an artificial white pine plantation with limited ecological benefit. Pine plantations like this cover 40% of Mohican State Forest.
After a thinning decades ago, the second photo shows more biodiversity that allows pine and hardwood trees to grow together, supporting other plants and animals as well.
Finally, after three pine thinnings, both pine and hardwoods flourish in a very healthy forest in the last photo.