Michigan to Kentucky: Movement Update

As we approach mid-November there is a lot to report on as our Michigan Red-tailed Hawks head towards their wintering grounds. So far, we have gotten data from 9 of the 11, hopefully we hear from the others. Here is a quick update on 7 of our birds we have heard from. First up are the new birds that have checked in over the last few weeks.


A gorgeous Northern bird that recently dumped a ton of data including his breeding location. This is our only tagged MI bird that bred in Northern Quebec. He was approximately 115km northwest of a town called Matagami. We are still waiting on a backlog of data to come in so we do not know where he is currently but he is definitely on the move.


We hadn’t heard from this bird since initially deploying the transmitter on April 2nd. The reason being is that on the same day we tagged her she crossed the Straits and reached her breeding grounds in Northern Ontario, a non-stop flight of about 235 km! She settled in the boreal forest near Shoals Provincial Park. She departed at the end of October and used the straits again, this time flying over Bois Blanc Island. Her last signal indicated she was just north of Grayling, MI.


Out of all our MI tagged birds, Trinity has bred the furthest north. She bred in Northern Ontario just southwest of Polar Bear Provincial Park! This was amazing to see since this habitat is essentially open tundra with probably a slim selection of large trees to nest in which is what these birds prefer. Trinity departed near the end of October and also used the straits area once again. She crossed over Mackinac Island. Currently she is near Hustonville, Kentucky approximately 1,800 km from her breeding location.


She decided to settle and breed right on the edge of the boreal forest in Northern Ontario about 85km northeast of Hearst. Sam also used the straits area during her fall movement crossing at Saint Martin Bay and then flying over Bois Blanc Island. Sam is currently following closely behind Trinity and is currently north of Aberdeen, Indiana. It looks as though she will be heading towards Kentucky as well. She is roughly 1250km from her breeding grounds.


We actually just received data from Morpheus last week for the first time since mid-April. Morpheus also bred in Northern Ontario. He bred in what could be described as Hudson plains habitat just like Trinity. Morpheus was about 60km southwest of the first nation town of Attawapiskat, Ontario. This is another amazing breeding location to document. We currently do not know Morpheus’s current location, but hopefully in the coming weeks we will get the rest of the backlogged data from the summer.

Patagium: When we first reported on Patagium we thought she had initiated her migration after hanging out near Villebois in Quebec for a few days in early October. It turns out she would end up flying back and forth between Villebois and her breeding location another 4 times before initiating her migration around Oct 17th. She is currently near Elliot Lake in Ontario and appears to be heading to the Straits region again. It will be interesting to see where she crosses.

Rowan: Rowan has slowly been working his way down through MI over the past month making long stopovers all along the way. As of yesterday, he is just south of Montpelier, Ohio. It appears he has found some nice fragmented forest patches mixed with agricultural fields. It will be interesting to see how much longer he takes to reach his winter territory.

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