Merlin with prey

Peregrine Falcon taken by Zach Smith.

Raptor Research
The Kiptopeke fall hawk-watch was established by volunteers in 1977, and has recorded nearly 750,000 hawks and vultures of 19 species. It is the best place in the world to see migrating Merlins and Peregrines, with daily records of 462 and 364, respectively. The fall hawk banding station at Kiptopeke, established in 1991, examines and bands hundreds of hawks each season. The annual College Creek Spring Hawk-watch, on the shore of the James River near Williamsburg, was established in 1997 and records an average of more than 1,000 hawks and vultures each year. To see hawkwatch data, click this link:

  • Brett Clawson, Chief Ranger at Shenandoah River State Park, conducted a spring 2008 saw-whet owl banding program there, supported by CVWO, and run under Bob Reilly's master permit. The banding operation ran from 2/10-08 through 4/10/08. Brett banded an incredible 112 saw-whets, as well as capturing 10 saw-whets previously banded at other stations. Spring saw-whet owl monitoring has thus far received much less attention than fall monitoring, but Brett's work establishes Shenandoah River State Park as lying in an important spring migration pathway for this species. Saw-whet owl reproductive rates fell off sharply in the 2008 breeding season, resulting in a very low number of juvenile migrants throughout the East for Fall 2008. Brett continued monitoring saw-whets at the Park, however, and was able to band 77 new owls, demonstrating that Shenandoah State Park lies in an important fall flyway for this species as well.

    Advisor Earl Hodnett holding 2 Peregrines

    Northern Saw-whet Owls are banded, under Master Bander Dr. Robert Reilly, at First Landing State Park and at a site in Cumberland County. (Photo by Jethro Runco)

    Related Links