June 17, 2024


sights and trips

Hawk Look at Returns to Grandfather Mountain All through the Thirty day period of September

A pink-tailed hawk soars via the Higher Country sky. All through the entire month of September, website visitors to Grandfather Mountain can notice red-tailed hawks and quite a few other raptors, as they make their once-a-year migration south. Photo by Judi Sawyer | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Staying a mile higher has its strengths.

From atop Grandfather Mountain, readers can seize a entrance-row seat to a person of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles — thousands of raptors migrating over the mountains and heading south toward their wintering grounds.

Company can notice the raptors in the course of the yearly Hawk Enjoy, in which formal counters notice the variety of passersby in the sky during the complete thirty day period of September.

Raptors are birds of prey, this kind of as hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. The telltale indications of the raptor are sharp talons, a hooked upper invoice and eager vision. When some raptors stay in place in the course of winter, most will vacation south, the place food stuff is additional ample.

Grandfather Mountain is a key location for viewing this phenomenon, simply because it sits together the eastern escarpment of the Appalachian Mountains, and its rocky peaks produce sturdy thermal uplifts and enable prime visibility.

Probably the most remarkable visible display screen arrives courtesy of the wide-winged hawk, which migrates in groups of hundreds or 1000’s, called kettles. Individuals sightings are most typical around the next to 3rd week of September.

Through 2015’s Hawk Check out, Grandfather Mountain president and executive director Jesse Pope noticed a kettle of some 4,800 broad-wings passing in excess of in much less than 30 minutes, along with quite a few other kettles of appreciable dimensions, amounting to just about 10,000 raptors in one working day.

Aside from offering a visible spectacle, Hawk Look at serves an critical function. The once-a-year counts from Grandfather Mountain and other places assistance keep track of hawk populations and migration routes about time and provide essential data to notify land administration selections.

In truth, Grandfather Mountain is one of far more than 300 Hawk View internet sites formally selected by the Hawk Migration Association of North The usa.

Counts will be done just about every day the weather permits — the hawks never typically fly in fog or storms — from an location inaccessible to the normal community and will be posted day by day at HawkCount.org.

In addition, Grandfather Mountain is welcoming volunteers to assist in the official rely. Volunteers will have to attend a required orientation session on Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. to take part. Registration is expected. To do so, call John Caveny, Grandfather Mountain’s director of training and normal resources, at [email protected] or 828-737-0833.

Spectators are also welcome and encouraged to witness the annual phenomenon, with prime viewing places on Linville Peak (across the Mile Significant Swinging Bridge) and Half Moon Forget (the 1st main overlook when entering the park). 

“It invokes that sense of question we normally chat about at Grandfather Mountain,” Pope said. “It’s that time of yr exactly where you’re seeing a majestic bald eagle soar about the mountain, and you can not support but inquire inquiries, like, ‘Where are they heading?’ or ‘Why are they earning this once-a-year journey?’ It’s just an awe-inspiring time of year.”

This aids reveal why September is just one of Pope’s most loved months on Grandfather Mountain. Along with migration, it’s a time when the mountain sees a kettle’s really worth of seasonal changes. 

“September is a quite transformative thirty day period on Grandfather Mountain, the place we go from the flora and fauna of summer to those of autumn,” he claimed. “You never know what you may see on any offered working day.”

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to encourage conservation of the all-natural globe by helping friends discover, recognize and price the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For much more facts, phone (800) 468-7325, or program a vacation at www.grandfather.com. For now, tickets are only being sold on-line at www.grandfather.com.

A kettle of wide-winged hawks soars above Grandfather Mountain in the course of a earlier Hawk Enjoy. In 2015, 10,615 wide-winged hawks were formally counted from atop Grandfather’s Linville Peak. Picture by Jesse Pope | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Basis
This September, Grandfather Mountain employees will guide volunteers as formal counters in the 2021 Hawk Check out, for the duration of which contributors notice the quantity of migrating raptors passing overhead. Photo by Monty Combs | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Basis