Hawk Weekend Festival Kicks Off

The festival coincides with the Broad-Winged Hawk migration over the Northland.

DULUTH, Minn. – The fall migration season is upon the Northland and birders are soaring into Duluth this weekend for the annual hawk weekend festival.

The festival coincides with the Broad-Winged Hawk migration over the Northland.

Dozens of avid birders visited Duluth to get a glimpse of thousands of birds flying overhead.

The festival celebrates all things hawks and the passion for birding and it also allows people to count birds during a peak migration season which is important for keeping track of how the ecosystem is doing.

“If we notice that there’s trouble within their populations if there are noticable declines that’s a signal that something else is going on in our environment that we should be concerned about,” said Janelle Long, the executive director of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

Birders traveled from out of state and even country for the festival because of Duluth’s unprecedented geography.

Thursday, 5,000 Broad-Winged birds were counted on Hawk Ridge.

“The topography and the geography of the region is what makes this such an amazing migratory coordidor. All of the volcanic rock that creates all these warm air thermals that the birds are riding down not having to work that hard,” said Kaitlyn Okrusch, a naturalist of Hawk Ridge.

Looking eagerly to the sky with binoculars and cameras the birders were there to see the soaring raptors and enjoy time outside.

“I think it’s important to reconnect with nature and the outdoors. To reconnect with nature that way is what it means to be human,” said Jeff Davis, an avid birder.

The weekend festival will involve many field trips and workshops for those who wish to learn more about the feathered friends.

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