I'll say it – birds are cool.

The older I get, the more fascinated I am with birds of all species. That said, I think we can all agree the coolest birds to see in the sky are raptors.

What exactly are raptors? According to a Bureau of Land Management article, "the word raptor comes from the Latin rapere, which mean to seize or plunder — an apt way to describe birds that swoop down on their prey."

So, raptors are hawks, eagles, osprey, and falcons.

Well, New Hampshire, this month is the best time to see hundreds (maybe thousands) of hawks soar in the sky, as the Great Hawk Migration is nearly at its peak.

An osprey in Southern Florida
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The Great Hawk Migration is "Part of an epic annual journey that some species make," according to a Boston Globe article. "Broad-winged hawks, for instance, travel as far as South America to their wintering grounds in Brazil, Paraguay, and Colombia. They use thermal winds to boost them along their journeys, helping them travel 250 to 300 miles in a single day."

And this is all taking place right now. The peak of the migration is from mid-September to mid-October. "Biologists typically record around 15 species of raptors from the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory in Miller State Park," according to the Boston Globe.  

Even without evidence or photos, I can certainly say I have seen WAY more hawks in the past week or two than I have all year.

Just take a few moments during your day to look up into the sky. Whether you are doing yard work, driving, or taking a walk, I promise that if you take the time to look up, you will see more raptors than you normally do.

The biologists post their observations to an online database called hawkcount.org. So far this year, they’ve recorded 11,633 hawks from the station in Peterborough, over 289 hours of observing. Most of those were Broad-winged Hawks (10,253), the species that typically makes up 75 percent of the annual count, according to the Harris Center for Conservation Education.

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