It's the high season for Duluth's Hawk Ridge

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 10, 2009 - 10:05 PM

Hawk Ridge, about 800 feet above Lake Superior on the east end of Duluth, is known as one of the major global sites for the observation of fall hawk migrations. Hawks, eagles and other birds of prey concentrate there during their migrations to wintering areas as close as southern Minnesota or as distant as South America. The numbers are large because they are reluctant to cross a body of water as large as Lake Superior, and a further funneling effect occurs as the hawks use updrafts along the shoreline.

Hawk-watching begins in mid-August and continues into December, with the biggest flights usually occurring Sept. 8 - 23. The best time to observe the birds seems to be from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but there is almost no migration on days with an easterly wind or precipitation. Clear skies and a northwest wind provide the best conditions. On one mid-September day, only 50 hawks were seen. The next day 19,225 birds were counted after skies had cleared.

JIM GILBERT

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