Final Summary

This is the December and final summary for the 2019 Inland Pacific Northwest Raptor Migration. I would like to personally thank all of those who have participated and I hope with this information compiled onto this page will help figure out population densities of certain species and if we could find all 35 species of possible raptors. So here we go!

Top Five For December

  1. Red-tailed Hawk: 51
  2. Rough-legged Hawk: 30
  3. Bald Eagle: 14 (+1 spot)
  4. American Kestrel: 13 (-1 spot)
  5. Golden Eagle: 9 (First Time in Monthly Top 5)

Raptor Stats Overall

  1. Red-tailed Hawk: 378
  2. American Kestrel: 73
  3. Rough-legged Hawk: 63 (+6 spots)
  4. Great Horned Owl: 52
  5. Cooper's Hawk: 50
  6. Swainson's Hawk: 49 (-3 spots)
  7. Bald Eagle: 47 (+3 spots)
  8. Northern Harrier: 41
  9. Sharp-shinned Hawk: 36 (-2 spots)
  10. Turkey Vulture: 34 (-4 spots)
  11. Osprey: 32
  12. Golden Eagle: 31
  13. Ferruginous Hawk: 27
  14. Prairie Falcon: 22
  15. Merlin: 12
  16. Peregrine Falcon: 8 (+1 spot)
  17. Northern Pygmy-Owl: 8 (-1 spot)
  18. Northern Saw-whet Owl: 7
  19. Red-shouldered Hawk: 5 (+1 spot)
  20. Northern Goshawk: 3
  21. Western Screech-Owl: 3 (+3 spots)
  22. Barred Owl: 3 (+4 spots)
  23. Gyrfalcon: 2
  24. Long-eared Owl: 2 (-3 spots)
  25. Northern Hawk Owl: 2 (-3 spots)
  26. Great Gray Owl: 1 (-1 spot)
  27. Burrowing Owl: 1
  28. Short-eared Owl: 1
  29. Boreal Owl: 1
  30. Barn Owl: 1 (First Sighting in December)

Project Misses and Comments

There are 35 "expected" species of raptors in our search zone and I would've been extremely surprised if we actually got them all. Here's the five species we missed and some comments regarding to it.

White-tailed Kite: To be honest, finding this species in general was going to be a long shot. Kites are typically not nomadic but I kept crossing my fingers hoping that one might just come over the Cascades.

Broad-winged Hawk: I was actually shocked no one actually saw a Broad-winged Hawk. If I had observers paying attention to the skies, surely one would've been spotted in September. Especially when an average of 3 individuals fly over the Intermountain Bird Observatory in Boise every September day. Perhaps next year.

Flammulated Owl: Technically this bird was found because I did hear one owling one night in the Elkhorn Mountains, Oregon but the owl was too far away to get a decent audio. The fact that this species is incredibly secretive might explain its absence from the project.

Snowy Owl: I was not expecting anyone to have luck with a Snowy since the lemming year was 2017, and additionally, I do not believe any place north of our search zone had harsh enough winter to drive the owls south.

Spotted Owl: Once again, another long shot as this is probably the hardest "expected" species to find.

Subspecies

There are several species that have subspecies. Some of these include the Harlan's Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis harlani) which are really distinct or Northern Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus velox) where the differences between others are subtle. Here's what I got.

Western Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura meridionalis) -- 34

North American Osprey (Pandion hailaetus carolinensis) -- 32

Northern Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtonensis) -- 47

American Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis) -- 31

American Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis atricapillus) -- 3

Northern Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus velox) -- 36
Queen Charlotte Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus perobscurus) -- 0

Western Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus) -- 368
Harlan's Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis harlani) -- 7
Western/Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus/abieticola) -- 3
Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis borealis) -- 0
Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola) -- 0

American Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagophus sanctijohannis) -- 63

California Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus elegans) -- 5

Northern American Kestrel (Falco sparverius sparverius) -- 75

Taiga Merlin (Falco columbarius columbarius) -- 11
Prairie Merlin (Falco columbarius richardsonii) -- 1
Black Merlin (Falco columbarius suckleyii) -- 0

North American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) -- 8
Peale's Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus pealei) -- 0
Arctic Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus tundrius) -- 0

American Barn Owl (Tyto alba pratincole) -- 1

Interior Screech-Owl (Megascops kennicotti bendirei) -- 3

Western Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugena) -- 1

Interior Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus lagophus) -- 52
Pale Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus subarcticus) -- 0

American Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa nebulosa) -- 1

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia varia) -- 3

Western Long-eared Owl (Asio otus tuftsi) -- 2

Northern Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus flammeus) -- 1

Pacific Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma californicum) -- 0
Rocky Mountains Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma pinicola) -- 0
Pacific/Rocky Mountains Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma californicum/pinicola) -- 8

American Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus richardsoni)

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus acadicus) -- 7

Counties Missed

There were 38 counties including in our search zone and sadly three counties did not acquire any observations during the course of the project. These counties were:

Gilliam, Oregon
Morrow, Oregon
Wheeler, Oregon

Top Observers By Species

  1. @cgates326 with 19 species
  2. birdwhisperer (myself) also with 19 species
  3. @peterolsoy with 18 species
  4. @nightjar09 with 10 species
  5. @masonmaron with 10 species

Top Observers By Observations

  1. birdwhisperer with 347
  2. peterolsoy with 199
  3. cgates326 with 127
  4. masonmaron with 84
  5. @jnelson with 56

Final Comments

To those that participated both purposefully and unknowingly, we were able to compile 1007 raptor sightings in a very short 6 months. We saw species migrate, come and go. Saw amazing things that made others envy them. Here's a few thoughts I've had about the project.

The amount of Red-tailed Hawks compared to all the other species is quite sobering. Seriously, Red-tailed Hawks covered over 38% of ALL sightings! I'm sure we all know that Red-tails are more common than any other raptor species but to truly see how much they do outnumber everyone else is outstanding.

I never realized how many Rough-legged Hawks winter in eastern Washington or Oregon. In November and December, for every 3 Red-tails there were 2 Rough-legged Hawks. I'm sure if they stayed year-round, I think they might give Red-tails a run for their money.

Prairie species like the Ferruginous Hawk and Prairie Falcon numbers surprised me. The sightings told me two things, Ferruginous are truly the king of raptors in sagebrush Oregon and Prairie Falcons dominate the skies in eastern Washington.

The last time I've personally seen so many Golden Eagles was when I lived in Montana before 2017. I even found not one but two Golden Eagles in Walla Walla County during the project, I placed I've lived in for two years and have NEVER seen a Golden.

I was shocked to even have one Red-shouldered Hawk sighted during the project but to have 5, two of which being my own sighting of Wallowa County's first ever RSHA.

I am shocked by the lack of Barn Owls spotted. Me myself have had my struggles tracking down these owls, despite my good luck in the past.

Well, Happy New Year everyone and thanks for joining the Inland Pacific Northwest Raptor Migration Count!

-- Sean Cozart -- birdwhisperer

Publicado por birdwhisperer birdwhisperer, 01 de janeiro de 2020, 08:03 MANHÃ

Comentários

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I wonder if people get "bored" with red-tailed hawks come November, and so the relatively high number of rough-legged hawks is because of how cool they look and being newer. From driving around back roads in Eastern WA, I would say it is at least 2:1 if not more for RTHA:RLHA. It might be interesting to compare numbers from raptor runs or from eBird to see how those counts relate to photos posted on iNaturalist.

My sense was it was a good year for golden eagles and prairie falcons.

We had similar poor luck with owls so far this winter (outside of saw-whets). Maybe it is how warm it has been so far? Places that were a lock for a couple barn owls last winter have been misses this winter. Maybe January or February will bring better luck.

Publicado por peterolsoy 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)

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