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