by Dan Casey

Bj Worth spent a cold, windy day on the ridge Nov. 5th to conduct the 50th survey of the 2021 Jewel Basin Hawk Watch monitoring season. The 30 birds he counted that day brought our season total to 4,418 birds, which exceeded our previous high season count by more than 1,000 birds! We set new season-long high count totals for 10 species along the way and had below-average count totals for just one of the 17 raptor species we recorded, the Golden Eagle. And it was a season full of highlights, with 488 birds counted Oct 5th (a bird a minute!), 30 Broad-winged Hawks on Sep. 14th, a resident grizzly bear, and more.

Many thanks to Joshua Covill, who served as our primary technician for 19 surveys, and to Bj Worth, Bo Crees, Nicki Broesel, Lisa Bate, Rod Wallette, Jake Bramante, Michele Tohtz, and Pete Fisher, each of whom (like me) served as primary for at least one survey. Numerous others contributed to the effort, most notably Pam Willison, who added her observation skills to many surveys, helping us to count nearly 2,500 Sharp-shinned Hawks!

We averaged 88 birds per survey, or 13.4 birds/hr for the season, and recorded >200 birds on eight different days. Our season totals follow, with record numbers marked by an (*). I’m already looking forward to next year…

Turkey Vulture3
Bald Eagle97
Northern Harrier49
Sharp-shinned Hawk*2,490
Cooper’s Hawk*603
Northern Goshawk37
Unidentified Accipiter59
Broad-winged Hawk*57
Swainson’s Hawk*7
Red-tailed Hawk*328
Ferruginous Hawk*4
Rough-legged Hawk36
Unidentified Buteo22
Golden Eagle379
American Kestrel*100
Peregrine Falcon*24
Prairie Falcon*27
Unidentified Falcon4
Unidentified Eagle6
Unidentified Raptor9
Season Total4,418