River talk

A broad-winged mystery

By SANDY LONG
Posted 9/15/21

Sadly—and strangely—I recently came upon two immature broad-winged hawks, approximately a week apart, that died from collisions with vehicles along Route 6 in Pike County, Pennsylvania. …

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River talk

A broad-winged mystery

Posted

Sadly—and strangely—I recently came upon two immature broad-winged hawks, approximately a week apart, that died from collisions with vehicles along Route 6 in Pike County, Pennsylvania. In addition to these two, a third was killed roughly 10 yards away from the first two, along the same stretch of road roughly two weeks later. The three hawks were nearly identical in appearance.

I reached out to my friend, Bill Streeter, of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center (DVRC) in Milford, PA, for insight into this puzzling set of events.

“Only a few months old, these immature broad-wing hawks are among the later nesters, but also the first hawks to begin a long migration to Central and South America,” Streeter responded. “Unlike some hawks like red-tails, which may either migrate or overwinter here, all broad-wings migrate.”

“Immatures start migration in late August, a bit earlier than the adults,” he added. “They are more likely to get in accidents this time of the year due to inexperience—cars aren’t necessarily seen as a threat—and possibly hunger if they aren’t good hunters yet. They are most concerned with getting food, not looking both ways before crossing in unfamiliar terrain.”

Streeter was uncertain as to why these birds of prey met their sequenced demise as described (other than coincidence or the possible presence, and therefore potential food source, of another roadkill victim nearby). He noted, however, that peak broad-wing migration occurs in this area during the second to third week in September, so keep your eyes to the skies for possible sightings of these beautiful birds.

Please consider supporting the work of the not-for-profit DVRC. Although no longer accepting birds for rehabilitation, the center is providing lifetime support for the birds already in its care, as well as ongoing educational programming throughout the region. Visit www.dvrconline.org/ to learn more.

Often when I come upon an animal that has lost its life to some unfortunate fate, I take the opportunity to study it closely and capture images like the ones in this column. Over time, these photos have become part of a broader work that will be shared in an upcoming show at the Union Digital Gallery in Narrowsburg, NY (www.narrowsburgunion.com/union-digital-gallery).

“Impermanence: a provocative exploration of the transitory nature of experience,” will feature my digital images, videos and poetry, with an opening event on October 30 and viewing opportunities through the month of November. Please save the date and visit www.SandyLongPhotos.com for updated information.

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