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.
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.
The teams also tracked a late-season juvenile Red-tailed Hawk through winter storms to Bodega Bay in November.
Check the Telemetry Blog at www.ggrotelemetry.blogspot.com for the full story about each tracked hawk.
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)