Fall's Journey South: September 8, 2000
Today's Report Includes:
You can watch hawks migrating just about anywhere in North America except over open water. If you wonder why, that's:
Why do these birds travel so far, face so many dangers, and allow themselves to be so crowded together? The cold of winter won't hurt them; a hawk's thick outer feathers cover an even thicker blanket of down feathers that can keep it as warm as it needs. But when winter comes, many of the food items that northern hawks eat become unavailable. Think about it: Insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals disappear or are hidden under ice and snow. Some small birds remain for falcons and other bird-eating hawks to dine on, but most small birds head south. Thus, many of the hawks that eat them must follow suit.
Some people assume that because hawks migrate for food, they need to leave when their food runs out. In reality, hawks time their migration when food is most abundant. This gives them the best chance of finding food right when they most need the energy and are traveling through unfamiliar territory.
A Hawk's Gotta Eat!
After you have matched each of these hawk species with its food, study the range maps marked A, B, and C below. Think about the location and size of each species' wintering range. What climate might it have? Think about the connection between each species' food and where that species spends winters. Then you'll be ready to answer:
Keep a Hawk-Eye on the Sky
Large numbers of hawks seem to gravitate to certain "hawk hotspots" on the continent. Below are just a few of the most popular places for hawks and the people who watch them. Find them on a map and see if you can figure out why hawks concentrate in those places. (What do the locations have in common?)
Hawk Watcher's Primer
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions:
1. Address an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #1 (or #2 or #3).
3. In the body of the message, answer the Challenge Question.
The Next Journey South Update Will Be Posted on September 22, 2000.
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