eScape 2012 September

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN AN OFFICIAL HAWK COUNT LOCATION

Grandfather Mountain has joined 200 other localities as an official Hawk Count site. Official sites are designated by the Hawk Migration Association of North America and charged with identifying, tracking and logging the numbers and types of raptors across the country.

“It’s a little bit like fishing,” said Director of Education and Natural Resources, Jesse Pope.  “You can sit for hours without seeing anything, but when a large group of broad wing hawks comes through it’s completely worth it.”

Since Grandfather Mountain is the tallest mountain in the area, no view is obstructed and Linville Peak, the rocky peak just across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, serves as a perfect vantage point with its 360-degree views.

The peak is a particularly good place to observe raptor migration where as many as 1,000 raptors a day (the record being over 4,000 in one day) can be seen making the trip south from September to December.  All sorts of raptors have been spotted from just across the Swinging Bridge including, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons.

For more information about the Hawk Migration Association of North America, visit their website at www.hmana.org.  To review hawk count numbers from Grandfather and other accredited Hawk Count sites, visit www.hawkcount.org.