15 September 2019:
You can tell what month it is at a Pennsylvania hawk watch by noticing the most abundant raptor.
If you’re seeing a lot of broad-winged hawks, it must be September. Broad-wing migration peaks right now; they’ll be gone by the end of the month.
If you’re seeing a lot of turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks it must be October. In the fall of 2018, 90% of the turkey vultures that passed the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch went by in October.
Red-tailed hawks spread their migration over several months. Last year at the Allegheny Front roughly 25% were seen in September, 50% in October, 25% in November.
If golden eagles are at their most abundant, it must be mid-October to mid-November. It’s my favorite time of year at the Allegheny Front.
Pennsylvania hawk watches are about to switch from broad-wings to red-tails. Count the raptors to find out what month it is. 😉
(Broad-winged hawk and turkey vulture photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the originals. Red-tailed hawk and golden eagle by Steve Gosser)