|Broad-winged Hawk - Adult|
To migrate the birds use natural updrafts or thermals in the atmosphere. These are areas where the air is moving upwards caused by temperature differences or winds. This makes flying easier and allows them to gain altitude. In these updrafts the birds gather in kettles or groups and then move off on their southward journey. After they reach maximum altitude, they can then fly by winging or by soaring on south winds, slowly losing altitude but covering large distances. When they reach the next updraft, they repeat the process. Updrafts are caused by land masses like mountains, large hills or ravines which cause the air masses to move upwards. It is these areas where birders gather to see the concentration of migrating hawks. See the photo below which shows kettles of hawks spiralling upwards or perhaps waiting for favourable winds before moving southward. Research shows that these birds migrate about 4,300 miles (6800 Km) in total and about 70 miles a day (110 Km).
|Migrating Hawks [Wikipedia Photo]|
Adults have a mottled dark brown back with reddish-brown streaked upper breast and white belly with some streaking. The tail is black with wide white bars. The juvenile shows a white breast with some streaking. See the photo above for the adult and below for the juvenile.
|Broad-winged Hawk - Juvenile|