Tomorrow the 10th season of hawk watching will begin at Illinois Beach State Park. Last Saturday I attended a very informative Hawk Watching Seminar at Volo Bog State Natural Area. During the first part of the seminar, IBSP Hawk Watch founder Vic Berardi shared a great presentation on identifying hawks in flight. I took several pages of notes but clearly the best way to improve hawk ID skills will be to sit with the team, watching, which I hope to do some time before the Hawk Watch finishes at the end of November.
In the afternoon Vic shared some (more) of his wonderful photography and gave us attendees lots of great tips on taking pictures of raptors in flight. Vic has a new blog, The Raptorphile, as well as a super photography tips website along with his son at Photo Naturalist. You should check them out!
Later, other founding members of the IBSP team, Janice Sweet and Paul Sweet, shared data and analysis of the data the team has gathered over the last 9 years, like season records and trends in age data and period of migration for the different species. For instance, most of the Bald Eagles observed at the IBSP Hawk Watch are juveniles. Adult birds tend to congregate around the Mississippi River, but the local juvies don’t know that yet.
Do you volunteer at a hawk watch in your area, or have you ever visited one?