Since the listservs have been crackling with reports of migrating birds of prey this past week, I thought it might be fun to check in with Joel Simon. Joel is the watch coordinator and official observer at the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch at Hazel Bazemore Park in Texas as well as an author and frequent speaker about raptors. He wrote a fascinating article about the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch for our October 2008 issue, which is on newsstands now. I asked him how this year's count was going, what birds had been seen so far, and about the effects of Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav. His answers follow. --C.H.
In your article, you wrote that the first three weeks of the season, in August and early September, are traditionally "kite time." Has this again been the case so far this year?
Yes. Using last year's total of 20,966 and this year's total of 15,349 through August 28 (Thursday), the percentage of kites to total raptors for August is 99%. The Broad-winged Hawk takes over during September, of course; it accounts for about 94% of that month's flight.
How have this year's early results compared with those from previous years?