a map where teachers have reported their sightings of fall migrating hummingbirds. Help the hummingbirds on their journey by maintaining clean nectar feeders and planting lots of red, tubular flowers. The young Ruby-throated Hummingbird above likes the Lady in Red Salvia we planted for it in our yard.
You can even follow the hummingbirds and go to the 24th Annual HummerBird Celebration birding festival in Rockport-Fulton TX, Sept. 13-16, 2012. Take one of their birding tours to hummer homes, where sugar water feeders provide for hundreds of hummingbirds who stock up before they make their way across the Gulf Of Mexico. They also have hummingbird banding demonstrations and much more.
We just saw a record number, for us, of 1,026 last night flying by us in southwest NH as we viewed them from out deck from 5-7:30 pm! Be on the lookout for nighthawks.
4. Oh and the hawk-watching season is just beginning!!! Raptors, raptors and more raptors will be on the move. Peak migration time for Broad-winged Hawks, who get the heck out of the U.S. while the weather is still warm, is mid-to late Sept., when they have a mass exodus out of New England and other areas and travel south, to their wintering areas in Central and South America.
Broad-winged Hawks in a "kettle"
Broad-winged Hawks migrate in large groups (a "kettle") by soaring up in thermals of rising hot air. We have been hawk watching each fall for over 30 years. The place we go to help count migrating raptors is Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory in southern NH. Last year was phenomenal and we saw 5,290 raptors in one day on 9/18/11.
At hawk watch sites, Ospreys fly right over you.
There are many excellent hawk watching sites you can go to, (many with official counters), especially in the East. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA, Cape May Bird Observatory, Cape May, NJ are legendary places to go hawk watching. Down at Corpus Christi Raptor Migration Project in Corpus Christi, TX, they have had season counts of over a million raptors passing by. To find a hawk watch site near you, go to the Hawk Migration Association of North America website. Here you will also find the official count numbers from each hawk watch site for each season.
You can also just watch in your own yard or any nearby place that gives you a clear view of the sky to the north or northeast. Hawks prefer to migrate on a high pressure front with mild north, northwest, or northeast winds.
Yellow-rumped Warbler. Learn this bird well, it is often the most abundant and conspicuous warbler you will see in fall.
Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1st winter f.
Prairie Warbler, 1st winter f.
5. Warblers! Those charismatic gems! Warblers are migrating big time now. Go out with your binoculars and look in your favorite birding spot, or you can even see many even in your own yard. We just had 10 species of warbler in our yard two days ago, including Yellow-rumped, Tennessee, Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided, Pine, Magnolia, Common Yellowthroat, Nashville, American Redstart, and Northern Parula. Don't get crazy and hyperventilate, thinking all warblers are "confusing fall warblers." Most are not confusing. Quoting from our Stokes Field Guide to Warblers, "You may have heard some birders talk about how confusing it is to identify "fall warblers". What is challenging about fall is that you have both adults and their young of that year (the immatures) migrating through. Immature male warblers most often look a lot like adult females, but immature females are usually quite a bit paler than immature males, sometimes with just a suggestion of the colors and patterns of the adults. The challenges in identification arise with a few immature females that look both very dull and quite similar. Only a handful of these are the most problematic...Yellow-rumped, Palm, Pine, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Cape May, Common Yellowthroat and Black-throated Blue. By far the most common dull species will be the immature Yellow-rumped Warbler."
Many other bird species migrate in fall also. Fall is an awesome birding time, get out and have some birding fun!