The month of September at Grandfather Mountain saw volunteers participating in the annual Hawk Watch, not only at Grandfather but at many locations around the country.

Raptors are birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, owls and vultures, and the Hawk Watch is an effort to count and identify the numerous species of raptors heading south for the winter.

Grandfather Mountain reports around 30 volunteers counted 1875 during September and early October. The busiest day of the count came on September 24, when 442 birds were recorded.

The overall numbers for this year’s Hawk Watch were lower compared to previous years, as counters missed two days during what was expected to be peak migration week due to the birds bypassing a storm system.

The Hawk Watch accumulates a large set of data over an extended period of time in order for researchers to examine the birds’ migratory patterns and what external factors, such as climate change, may be affecting them.

To view data from this year’s Hawk Watch, visit hawkcount.org/grandfathermountain.