Hawk Mountain's fall results are in. The Berks County mountaintop sanctuary, which just happens to be a natural funnel for migrating raptors, completes a count of the birds spotted there every year between Aug. 15 and Dec. 15. This year, the 75th year the sanctuary has been in existence, watchers tallied 15,561 birds of prey, including a season record 68 peregrine falcons and an above-average 212 bald eagles.
According to the sanctuary, the count has scientific value of its own, but Hawk Mountain educators also use it to introduce visitors to the phenomena of migration and the importance of raptor conservation. The sanctuary is operated year round and open to the public as a nature-tourism site.
Meanwhile, New Jersey has issued its 2009 reports for bald eagles, peregrine falcons and osprey. Bald eagles reached a record 84 pairs this year, with 69 active nests producing 99 eagle fledglings. The number of osprey nesting pairs recorded was 485; a 14% increase since the 2006 survey. Peregrine falcons also increased to 24 nesting pairs.