HawkWatch to celebrate raptor migration

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Live raptor presentations will be among the activities at HawkWatch on Saturday, Oct. 8. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Celebrate the fall migration of thousands of raptors and other birds along the Mississippi River Flyway at the 32nd annual HawkWatch on Saturday, Oct. 8. The event will be hosted by the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre in Marquette, in conjunction with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and the Upper Iowa Audubon Society.

HawkWatch will begin at 9:30 a.m. and run through the afternoon, until 3:30 p.m. The free event will include hands-on educational activities for kids and an educational video at both 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. Four live raptor presentations will be offered at 10 and 11 a.m., as well as at 1 and 2 p.m.

All four programs, said Wetlands Centre Director Alicia Mullarkey, will be given by the University of Minnesota Raptor Center. Four different raptors will be featured, she noted, including a bald eagle.

“It’s fun to see the birds up close,” said Billy Reiter-Marolf, wildlife biologist with the McGregor District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. “Seeing them in person really makes a difference for kids.”

Outside the Wetlands Centre, HawkWatch attendees will have an opportunity to view the raptor migration and identify a variety of birds with the help of experts from the Upper Iowa Audubon Society.

“There will be a lot of introductory material for amateur birders, but it will also be exciting for people who do a lot of birding,” Mullarkey shared.

Another HawkWatch highlight is an off-site banding station, where people can witness the capture, banding and release of live raptors. Shuttles will leave the Wetlands Centre every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reiter-Marolf said Refuge staff were preparing the banding site during a recent morning and saw 200 hawks, of several different species, pass through the area.

“We’re really starting to see them move,” he said. “The Mississippi River Flyway is one of four major flyways, and this time of year is a great time to see them.”

HawkWatch fortuitously falls within National Wildlife Refuge Week, and will be one of many special Refuge Week events held nationwide to celebrate America’s majestic wildlife heritage. Since Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903, the Refuge System has become the world’s premier habitat conservation system.

“We hope [HawkWatch] will be a fun event and that people can learn about something in their own backyard and see how important the Refuge is locally and in the U.S.,” Reiter-Marolf said. “

“We can learn about raptors’ biology and the importance of the area to these species,” Mullarkey added. “It’s great to celebrate the animals that make this area unique.”

For more information or a schedule of events, contact the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre at (563) 873-3537 or go to www.driftlessareawetlandcentre.com or the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre Facebook page.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet