[Tweeters] Rsults from the 24th Annual Skagit Flats Winter Raptor Census

Bud Anderson falconresearch at gmail.com
Sun Feb 17 20:12:38 PST 2013


On Saturday, 9 February, over 110 volunteers from the Falcon Research Group
held our 24th annual hawk census on the Skagit Flats in northwestern
Washington.
As expected, this was a record year for raptors and our highest count ever.
We surveyed 27 routes extending from the Stillaguamish River in the south
to Chuckanut Manor in the north, March Point to the west to Sedro Woolley
in the east, an area of approximately 417 square miles. The two hour count
runs from 0900-1100.
This year, we recorded sightings of 1,266 birds of prey involving 12
species. We always expect that an unknown number of these birds are
unavoidablycounted more than once but far more are not counted at all (e.g.
most SEOWs, SNOWs, BNOWs).

Here are the totals listed by highest numbers.

1. Bald Eagles 645
2. Red-tailed Hawks 313
3. Northern Harriers 137
4. Rough-legged Hawks 76
5. Peregrine Falcons 23
6. American Kestrels 19
7. Cooper's Hawks 13
8. Merlins 10
9. Short-eared Owls 6
10. Sharp-shinned Hawks 4
11. Barn Owl 1
12. Gyrfalcon 1

Buteos 11
Accipiter 1
Raptor 6

As usual, the "Big Four" (Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers
and Rough-legged Hawks) accounted for about 92% of the sightings.

We had record high counts of Bald Eagles, Rough-legged Hawks, Peregrine
Falcons, Merlins and American Kestrels.

We also missed the several Snowy Owls reported for the Stanwood/Fir Island
areas, the second Gyr on Fir Island, the recently sighted Prairie Falcon by
Stanwood and really large numbers of Short-eared Owls being reported
throughout the area (one unconfirmed report of 30 at the West 90). No
Long-ears either.

These results once again confirm how important the Skagit/Stillaguamish
River delta system is to wintering North American raptors.

Hawk count coordinator Ed Deal and I want to extend our gratitude to all of
the many FRG volunteers and hawkwatchers that come so far to make this
count possible each year. It is pretty obvious that we could not do this
without you all.

Many, many thanks,

Bud Anderson
Falcon Research Group
Box 248
Bow, WA 98232
(360) 757-1911
falconresearch at gmail.com
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