Fifty-seven migrating Golden Eagles were tallied at the Franklin Mt. Hawkwatch, near Oneonta, on November 11 by counters Steve Hall, Fred Fries and Kyle Dudgeon. This is the second highest daily count in the 28-year history of the site, topped only by the 71 counted exactly eleven years prior, Nov. 11, 2005. The previous second high was 51 on 11/20/2003.
The count stands as the highest daily count this season in the eastern US, surpassing totals at such well-known sites as Hawk Mountain and Waggoner’s Gap in Pennsylvania.
The Franklin Mt. Hawkwatch is located on the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society’s wildlife sanctuary on the south side of the Susquehanna River valley, looking northward over the city of Oneonta. The site typically records over 5000 raptors each fall season, of 15 different species.
The November 11 tally total brings the seasonal count to 196, ensuring that Franklin Mt. will surpass 200 Golden Eagles for the first time in a decade, and provides a possibility of breaking the seasonal high of 252 in 2005.
Conditions were ideal on the big day–gusty NW winds after clearing from a cold front passage. Golden Eagles migrate late in the hawk season, even extending into December. The birds nest in northern Quebec and Labrador, Canada, and have already traveled 1500 miles before they reach this area. Local research has shown a significant number winter in the region, while others continue down the Appalachian Mountain chain.
More information on the Franklin Mt. Hawkwatch is available at www.franklinmt.org.