Beamer Hawkwatch 50th Anniversary

Bald eagle, Beamer Memorial Hawkwatch ©

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch. During early spring sightings of red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, Cooper’s hawks, golden eagles, red-shouldered hawks and thousands of turkey vultures are regularly recorded as community science data by the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch. The Beamer Memorial Hawkwatch is hosted in partnership with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Red-shouldered hawk, Beamer Memorial Hawkwatch ©

I’ve especially enjoyed visiting the hawkwatch tower for many years and this year I had the chance to go on Good Friday, March 29 2024. A little bird had reported that more than 6 golden eagles had been sighted above Beamer over the past two weeks, as well as more than 50 red-shouldered hawks also in migration northwestward from overwintering areas in the United States and Mexico. Golden eagles live in far northern Ontario, including along Hudson Bay and into the Arctic, so they are earlier migrators and red-shouldered hawks are wetland habitat inhabitant specialists and given that we’ve had a record warm winter the red-shouldered hawks headed back to emerging wetland habitats. While red-shouldered hawks are not classified as at-risk wetland habitats are quickly diminishing in Ontario due to expansion, industrial, infrastructure and residential development, and yet play an essential role in Ontario for water filtration, climate regulation, carbon sequestration, habitat for fish and waterfowl as well as for turtles, snakes, frogs, herons, songbirds, loons and even red-shouldered hawks. Golden eagles are classified as Endangered Species At-Risk in Ontario as a result of habitat disturbance including pesticides, poaching, mining and resource extraction. So, having the chance to see golden eagles is pretty exciting. I once had the chance to see a golden eagle a few years ago at Beamer. I was at the hawkwatch tower and a large flock of turkey vultures came through and in that flock of a dozen or so turkey vultures was a golden eagle that passed overhead above us gliding on the thermals.

Red-tailed hawk, Beamer Memorial Hawkwatch ©

For myself, the highlights really included the chance to spend time outdoors in a beautiful natural environment, hearing and seeing migrating songbirds and certainly the red-shouldered hawk, bald eagle, Cooper’s hawks, red-tailed hawks and 72 turkey vultures I had the chance to see.

Beamer hawkwatch tower, Beamer Memorial Hawkwatch ©
Turkey vulture, Beamer Memorial Hawkwatch ©

Here are notes I made from the watchtower as a guest among the official hawkwatchers that day;


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