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Freeport Wild Bird Supply – Spring Hawkwatch at Bradbury Mountain State Park
March 15 @ 9:00 am - May 15 @ 5:00 pm
An event every day that begins at 9:00 am, repeating until March 15, 2021
Hawkwatching season is here! Freeport Wild Bird Supply (FWBS) is once again sponsoring the Spring Hawkwatch at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, which begins on March 15th. 2021 marks the 15th consecutive season for this project through which valuable data is collected while providing an enjoyable and educational experience for visitors.
This year, we welcome Andrew Sharp from Jamaica Plain, MA as our official Hawkcounter. Andrew has prior experience as a hawkwatcher and hawk bander with a migratory raptor project in Wisconsin, among other avian field work he has performed over the past few years. He’ll be stationed at the summit from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily from March 15th to May 15th.
Rising 485 feet above the southern coastal plain, Bradbury Mountain provides unimpeded views to the south and east all the way to the islands of Casco Bay. Whether using updrafts off the mountain, gliding overhead, or soaring over the plains, observers watch raptors utilizing a variety of migratory methods as they work their way north. The goal of the project is to document this migration by identifying and counting all raptors that pass by the mountain. On average, we see over 1,500 Broad-winged Hawks, 400 Osprey, and 75 Bald Eagles, among others in a season. Bradbury Mountain is also a fantastic place to view Red-shouldered Hawks, a species that is difficult to see when nesting in summer. Over a period of years, these data can be analyzed to determine trends in species numbers as well as changes in distributions, which when studied in conjunction with other monitoring sites across the continent, give us a broad scale idea of what is happening with raptor populations.
But, it is not just about the numbers. Hawkwatching is a very social activity that is accessible to birders of all abilities. Last spring, we interacted with more than 1000 visitors despite (or likely, because of, the pandemic)! Seeing your first kettle (group of birds rising up on an updraft or thermal) of 50+ Broad-winged Hawks, or learning how to tell the difference between a Bald Eagle and a Turkey Vulture several miles away is an eye-opening experience for many folks. Organized hawkwatch sites, like Bradbury Mountain, are great places to meet new people and learn about raptors and the conservation issues they face at the same time.
So, grab your binoculars and join us atop Bradbury Mountain this spring. Andrew will gladly answer questions about the raptors you will see and help visitors learn what to look for to identify the 18 species that may pass by. The hawkwatch is free, though there is an entry fee to the park.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the park, the summit, and the project remain open to the public. We urge visitors to respect our hawkwatcher’s safety by wearing masks when nearby and especially when interacting, social distancing while at the summit, and exercising common sense. We encourage the public to visit and ask questions as we are all in need of outdoor time, recreation, and a connection to the natural world. Should crowds become a concern, however, the park has offered to rope off a section for our counter’s safety. After all, despite a global pandemic, the count must go on!
Freeport Wild Bird Supply is a retail store, located at 541 Route One in Freeport that specializes in products that enhance the appreciation and enjoyment of wild birds, birding, and nature. It is a fully independent store, locally owned and operated by Jeannette and Derek Lovitch of Pownal. Click here for more information, and more information about the hawkwatch can be found HERE!
Bradbury Mountain State Park
528 Hallowell Rd,
Pownal, ME 04069
Freeport Wild Bird Supply
541 US Route 1,
Freeport, ME 04032