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Migratory Raptor Count Totals – 2015

November 12, 2015

Final Totals 2015 sm FINAL

1506 Peregrine Falcons in 1 Day Count – New World Record

October 11, 2015

Latest Data HawkCount


Photos of Peregrine Falcons over FKH on 10/10/15 by Ted Keyel. Additional photos and composite by Rafael Galvez.

October 10, 2015 was an incredible, magical day when 1506 migratory Peregrine Falcons were tallied from the Florida Keys Hawkwatch at Curry Hammock State Park. No other site in the world has recorded such a high count during a single day of this incomparable predator. The previous world record was established by our site during Oct. 10, 2012, when an impressive 651 total Peregrines were tallied that day. This year’s new record more than doubles the previous count from 2012.


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This day was also the third highest day count for Sharp-shinned Hawks at our site, totaling in 1241. It would have taken 284 more Sharpies to match the 1525 from Oct. 20, 2011.

Below is a list by the hour of the impressive Peregrine Falcon flights our site experienced throughout the day (Oct. 10, 2015):

0900-1000: 10
1000-1100: 35
1100-1200: 250
1200-1300: 386
1300-1400: 453
1400-1500: 241
1500-1600: 46
1600-1700: 26
1700-1800: 28
1800-1900: 31
TOTAL: 1506


OUR AMAZING HAWKWATCH VOLUNTEERS this day were Ted Keyel, Colleen Kimbert Caudill and Charles Caudill. Mark Hedden and Rafael Galvez were backup counters during the latter half of the count day. A tremendous effort by this crew! Tom and Janet Kuehl have been visitors for many days and shared this magical day with us – thank you for your help and enthusiasm.


Most Peregrines this day flew by at great altitudes, requiring great effort by volunteers to keep up with the counts. Photo by Ted Keyel.

Most Peregrines this day flew by at great altitudes, requiring much effort by volunteers to keep up with the counts. Photo by Ted Keyel.

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Peregrines at the 1500 Mark – More Ospreys

October 10, 2015


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Top: Peregrine Falcon by Kerry Ross. Bottom: Osprey by Ted Keyel.

We finally surpassed the 1500 Peregrine mark this season, encouraged by several 3-digit single day counts this week. Yesterday, October 9 the count team tallied 272 migratory Peregrine Falcons, taking us to 1512 for the season. The species typically peaks around mid-October at our site, but each year is slightly different. Within recent years we have seen peaks as early as late September and other years when their flights were relatively well spread throughout the season. Challenging weather this year, particularly effects of hurricane Joaquin interfered with the detection of migratory raptors at our site. It is unclear at this point how this will affect our overall Peregrine numbers for this fall.

It was also encouraging to see 116 Ospreys migrating over Curry Hammock. Ospreys typically peak early in the season, and years when we start counting during mid-September, such as this year – we run the risk of missing too many. Just having tallied beyond 1000 Ospreys as of yesterday, we may reach our average seasonal count of 1289 for the species this season.


Who’s Counting? – FKH 2015

October 9, 2015

Who’s at the helm of the counting deck during the 2015 FKH fall migration season?

Ted Keyel

TED“I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, birding along Lake Michigan with my father. Family trips to Hawk Ridge (a hawkwatch in Duluth, MN) really sparked my interest in hawkwatching. I loved spending all day on the Ridge and did not want to be pulled away for a second, out of fear of missing something. After college, I realized that the best way to miss fewer birds was to be the hawkcounter. I have been fortunate to be able to count at a few sites. My first was the spring watch at Chavarrillo in Veracruz, MX. It was an incredible experience, and it really helped hone my counting skills. I next went to Montclair, NJ for both the spring and the fall. Montclair is second only to Hawk Mountain as the longest-running US hawkcount, and I enjoyed being a part of it. After Montclair, my last hawkcounting position was at the Peregrine Falcon Capital of the World. While I was there, I received my acceptance letter to graduate school at the University of Minnesota Duluth and now I am just finishing up my Master’s work on mercury accumulation in birds of prey.”


You may find Ted counting at Curry Hammock nearly every day this fall. He is a fun hawkwatcher with a friendly attitude and tremendous knowledge of birds. You are sure to maximize your migration experience in the Middle Keys by spending some time birding with him. Ted was a counter at FKH during 2012, and we are thrilled to have him back this year!

Colleen Kimbert Caudill & Charles Caudill

The heart and soul of FKH!

charles colleen

Colleen and Charles have volunteered at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch for five consecutive years, giving the project as much as a solid month of counting each fall season. They travel extensively in their RV, embarking on trips throughout the country from their home in the Florida peninsula. They first discovered hawkwatching by chance. They have had a long love for birds and nature, but when they visited Curry Hammock State Park during the fall of 2011, they had no idea they would be captured by a new passion – raptor migration! They are friendly, patient and willing to share migration with all visitors. We could not conduct this project without their immeasurable work year after year.

The Backup Team


A long time friend of FKH, Mark Hedden has filled in as a hawkcounter and bander over the years. He is a photographer, writer, bird guide and the Executive Director of Florida Keys Audubon Society. A Key West resident, Mark writes narrative nonfiction, primarily ornithology-oriented natural history and about several other interesting topics. His work has been published in the Key West Citizen, Solares Hill newspaper, the Miami Herald, Tropic magazine, Miami Metro magazine, the Washington Post, and many other publications. You can find some of his work at


I (Rafael Galvez) will be counting during unpredictable days – when organizational work allows. I hope to see you at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch soon!

274 Peregrine Falcon Day

October 8, 2015
Another excellent photo of a Peregrine Falcon by Kevan Sunderland, taken at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch.

Another excellent shot of a Peregrine Falcon by Kevan Sunderland at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch.

We are finally gaining some momentum: 274 migrating Peregrine Falcons were tallied at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch – Curry Hammock State Park – today 10/08/15, bringing the season’s total to 1240. It was also a decent day for Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged hawks. See the chart below.

Songbirds at Long Key State Park picked up quite a bit from recent slow days. Despite the many thrush vocalizations heard over South Florida last night, none were detected in the park, therefore we assume safe flights beyond the Keys. Warblers were represented in higher diversity and numbers than recent days, including Pine, Prairie, Magnolia, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue, Palm, Cape May, Yellow-throated and Worm-eating warblers, Ovenbird, Northern Parula, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat and 51 American Redstarts.

Gray Catbirds are finally present in our area, and it will be a common species during our surveys for the remainder of the season. However, the least common species this day was a Yellow-headed Blackbird!

Black-throated Blue Warbler by Ted Keyel. Yellow-headed Blackbird by Rafael Galvez.

Black-throated Blue Warbler by Ted Keyel. Yellow-headed Blackbird by Rafael Galvez.


Counters for 10/08/15 were Ted Keyel, Colleen Kimbert Caudill and Charles Caudill.


First 3-digit Peregine Days of 2015

October 7, 2015
Immature Peregrine Falcon flying by the Florida Keys Hawkwatch. Photo by Keven Sunderland.

Immature Peregrine Falcon flying by the Florida Keys Hawkwatch. Photo by Keven Sunderland.

Single day 3-digit Peregrine Falcon counts are not uncommon at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, but they have been relatively delayed this 2015 fall season (see the chart below). We finally experienced the first for 2015 in recent days, with 102 Peregrines counted on 10/05/15 and an excellent 233 on 10/06/15. We hope this is only the beginning of the falcon show. We also have a new single day record for Bald Eagles, with 8 counted on 10/06.



Raptor Count Update – Oct. 1, 2015

October 1, 2015

Photos by Ted Keyel.



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