The Florida Keys Audubon Society will hold its annual Hawk Mania event this Friday and Saturday, October 12 & 13. It’s a chance to see and learn about the tens of thousands of hawks, falcons, eagles and ospreys that migrate through the Keys each fall.
Friday, October 12
Hawk Migration in the Keys:
What We Know, How We Know It, And What We’re Still Trying To Figure Out
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
A curated conversation about migrating birds of prey between Rafael Galvez, Jeff Bouton, and Mark Hedden. There have been hawks migrating through the Keys longer than there have been people living here. We’ve only really clued in on the phenomenon on the last two decades. And we are still learning new things every day.
Rafael Galvez is the director of the Florida Keys Hawkwatch. He is also a highly accomplished wildlife artists who specializes in painting birds, as well as an international tour guide for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. In a pinch he has been know to draw pictures of rare birds with make up pencils found at a convenience store.
Jeff Bouton is Manager of Birding and Nature Markets at Leica Sport Optics. He has worked as a bird bander, a hawk counter, a birding guide, and a field researcher all over the United States. He has led a team of competitive birdwatchers through Israel, and has sought out rare and beautiful birds pretty much anywhere you can point to on a map.
Mark Hedden is Executive Director of the Florida Keys Audubon Society. He has been involved with the project in various capacities — including as a hawk counter and a hawk bander — since 2003. He has written and reported about wildlife for publications such as Birdwatching, Birdwatcher’s Digest, the Miami Herald, Roads & Kingdoms, the Key West Citizen, and WLRN public radio.
Saturday, October 13
9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hawk Watch at Fort Zach. Stop by for a few minutes or the whole day. Mid-October is the peak of the annual raptor migration through the Keys. We can almost guarantee seeing a Peregrine Falcon (the fastest bird on the planet) as well as good chances at several other species of hawks and falcons, including Northern Harriers, Broad-winged Hawks, Short-tailed Hawks, Merlins, American Kestrels, Ospreys and Bald Eagles. Chief spotters will be Jeff Bouton, Rafael Galvez of Florida Keys Hawkwatch, and Mark Hedden of Florida Keys Audubon.
Songbird walk with Dr. Mark Whiteside
Songbirds, small, colorful birds that – also know as passerines – are also migrating through the Keys at this time of year. Long-time birder and Florida Keys Audubon society president Mark Whiteside will lead a short walk around the park’s native hardwood hammock.
Hawks for Kids
There will be a special presentation oriented to kids, pointing out migrating hawks to them, explains where the hawks are coming from, where they are going, and what they do along the way. There will also be a planned visit from Augie the Broad-winged Hawk, an education bird who lives at the Key West Wildlife Center.
Meet at the tent in the field at the west end of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
Butterfly walk with Amy Grimm and Leigh Williams
Join the Big Pine Key dynamic duo of butterflies – Amy Grimm and Leigh Williams – for a short walk around the edge areas of the park, seeking some of nature’s most delicate and beautiful winged creatures.
The event is open and free to kids and adults and anyone who is interested. No experience necessary.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.