Effects of weather on autumn hawk movements at Fort Morgan, Alabama

S Woltmann
D Cimprich

Abstract

Migrating hawks were observed at Fort Morgan, Alabama during autumn 1995-1998. The three most abundant migrants were Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) and American Kestrel (Falco sparverius). The three species accounted for 84% of all observations. Most individuals (> 80%) were seen heading west. Compared with days with east and south winds, days with north winds were associated with significantly higher passage rates for all species, and passage rates of Broadwinged Hawks were significantly higher on days when both a cold front and north winds occurred than on days with north winds only. Hawks flew higher on east winds than on north and south winds, suggesting that hawks fly lower in winds that may blow them out over the Gulf of Mexico.