The 2015 Telemetry season is off to the races, with a newly-transmittered Broad-winged Hawk, released at noon on Sept. 23. Check the Telemetry Blog at www.ggrotelemetry.blogspot.com for regular updates as volunteers do their best to keep up with the bird on its epic flight south.
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.
Telemetrists last followed 2 Broad-winged Hawks in 2012. The first, “Marathon,” was tagged on Sept. 17 and successfully tracked to the Mexican border from the Marin Headlands in four days, following a similar path and time frame 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.