Volunteer radiotrackers fit a banded hawk with a radio transmitter weighing less than 3 percent of body weight, and follow the hawk constantly as it moves through California. A successful tracking season gives us a chance to study daily timing of migration, the hawk’s habitat use, and even the human impacts on migration.
Late season telemetry began November 27th with a juvenile male Red-tailed Hawk named “Echo.” He spent the first night in the Marin Headlands and during a break in the stormy weather headed north to Novato on the 28th. His estimated locations are being added to the map.
Earlier in 2012, telemetrists tagged and followed 2 Broad-winged Hawks. The first, “Marathon,” was tagged on Sept. 17 and successfully tracked to the Mexican border from the Marin Headlands by volunteer telemetrists in four days, following a similar path and timeframe as the only other Broadwing that had been tracked by the GGRO, in 1994. The second, “Lakota,” was tagged and released on Sept. 29, and was found dead on Angel Island on Oct. 4. A necropsy found the speculated cause of death was a 4-6mm hole in her back that pierced through the muscles and ended in one of her lungs.
Check the Telemetry Blog at www.ggrotelemetry.blogspot.com for updates from the field and more details about Marathon and Lakota.
You can also track the tagged hawks’ movements on the map to the right—open the map and click on a point for details! Marathon's points are red, Lakota's are blue, Echo's are yellow. (All points are approximations)