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Hawks Aloft

Courtesy Ned Harris via Flickr/Creative Commons

Once again, it's broad-winged hawk migration time. Whirpools of hawks soon will fill the sky, riding high on thermal lift as sun warms earth. When lift plays out they stream south in an orderly, and countable, procession.

New Hampshire Audubon does just that - count the hawks - at Carter Hill Orchard in Concord and atop Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park in Peterborough.

Here's what Henry Walters, the official counter at Pack Monadnock, wrote two years ago on September 18:

"Over 3400 hawks today. The skinniest sliver of an unbelievable sky-pageant happening all over New England. For a few hours, the void was a cup running over; hawks spooling and unspooling near and far, directly overhead and at the limits of sight, birds flying straight out of clouds the way they do only in myth and miracle. In the recorded history of Pack Monadnock the most hawks seen in a single day. And twelve bald eagles; three of them do-si-do-ing in the same thermal was a sight no one could remember, and will for a while."

Also memorable was having to leave the hawkwatch platform when it became a couple's weeding altar. Bride and groom said their vows with the Contoocook River valley and mountains beyond as a backdrop, and over 1,000 hawks passing overhead. A huddle of hawkwatchers did their whispering best to count those hawks from ledges  below, suppressing the shouts of excitement that are part of the fall hawkwatch.

You can join the excitement, here.

Chris Martin has worked for New Hampshire Audubon for over 31 years as a Conservation Biologist, specializing in birds of prey such as Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and Peregrine Falcons.

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