Visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on “Bald Eagle Migration Day,” Saturday, Aug. 25, and see a live Bald Eagle up close and personal during a noon-time presentation by Carbon County Environmental Center. This free presentation will be held in the outdoor amphitheater, or indoors in the event of rain.
Bald Eagle Migration Day is designed to remind visitors that late August and early September is one of the best times to see bald eagles on migration. At this time of year visitors have a 40 percent chance of seeing a Bald Eagle at Hawk Mountain’s North Lookout, and a 52 percent chance between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15.
Also visiting that day will be John and Yoke DiGiorgio, authors of the newly released “Nesting Diaries: the Triumphant Journey of Four Bald Eagle Chicks.” Part photo-essay and part natural history, the book follows progress at an eagle nest along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania that successfully raised and fledged four young—an extremely rare phenomena. The DiGiorgios will be available to sign copies of their book, or just to talk and share video clips with visitors about their experiences. They will be found inside the Visitor Center from 10 am to 4 p.m.
Children will be invited to participate in a Bald Eagle counting activity at the Lookout, and those who participate will be entered into a drawing for a plush eagle puppet. Children also may take home free information about eagles, their conservation status and their natural history. In addition to the kids, every new member who joins Hawk Mountain on Bald Eagle Migration Day will receive two free trail passes to share with a friend and also will be entered to win a special bald eagle-themed prize. The giveaway is part of a national “Pledge to Fledge” initiative, which encourages birders to introduce friends and other non-birders so they can see and enjoy birds for the first time.
About the Bald Eagle
Perhaps the most easily recognized raptor, adult Bald Eagles are easily distinguished by the white head feathers that stand out against the bird’s dark brown body. However the tricky part is that the white feathers don’t appear until eagles are four or five years old. First-year eagles tend to be brown overall or have white mottling on the underside of its wings. In the second and third year, Bald Eagles show heavy white streaking on the breast, and a year later, the birds may have a nearly-white head but still show dark ‘smudges’.
o identify an eagle at any age, look for a thick, barrel-like body, plank-like wings, an enormous beak and bright yellow feet. In flight, Bald Eagles are enormous: the wingspan may reach as wide as 7.5 feet and the bird can weigh up to 14 pounds. In comparison, the more commonly seen Red-tailed Hawk weighs just 1.5 to 3 pounds and has a wingspan less than half that size.
About Hawk Mountain
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a prime observation spot for watching the autumn raptor migration thanks to its location along the easternmost edge of the Appalachians. Here, hawks use ridge currents to gain lift, just like glider pilots on long-distance flights. Besides hawks, eagles and falcons, visitors here may see hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, songbirds and waterfowl. Some species follow the Appalachians to their end before heading south to the coastal plains of eastern Mexico or even the tropical forests of Central and South America, but the Bald Eagle typically travels only as far as Florida.
The official Hawk Mountain Autumn Hawk Watch runs from August 15 to December 15. Those who wish to visit the lookout should wear sturdy shoes, dress in layered clothing, and bring binoculars, something soft to sit upon, and a daypack. The Sanctuary has no trash receptacles on site and follows a carry in–carry out trash policy. Snack food and water are available for sale in the Visitor Center.
Trails to the lookouts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are open daily from dawn to dusk with a weekday trail fee.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a non-profit, member-support organization located just seven miles north of I-78 near Hamburg (exit 29B). For more information on weather forecasts, or hear the daily hawk count, call the info line at 610-756-6000 x6, or, to speak to someone at the Sanctuary call 610-756-6961.