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Eagles in the November sky over Peterborough County - Part 1

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In November, with only about 10 hours of daylight per day, the sun really seems to race across the sky at this time of year. Most of the small songbirds of summer are long gone for another winter. This is often the best month to see some of the largest birds found in this part of the world.

Many large waterfowl like geese and swans catch our attention as they call out while flying overhead making their way south. Another loud giant, (and the tallest bird we see here), is the Sandhill Crane. Its distinctive calls can be heard from very far off, but it can often take a minute or more before we finally spot them in flocks numbering from a few, to a few hundred individuals high in the sky.

For the past couple of months there has also been a gradual southward movement of raptors. From late August with the passage of the first of the smaller species like Sharp-shinned Hawks, things pick up considerably as medium-sized raptors like Broad-winged Hawks become more obvious by mid-September. As October progresses, Red-tailed Hawks seem to dominate the mid-autumn sky, along with smaller numbers of Red-shouldered and Rough-legged Hawks. As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, watching the annual hawk migration is something I enjoy doing at this time of year. However, the time I most look forward to is from late October through the first half of November when eagle migration is in full swing!

Here in the Kawarthas, we are fortunate to share the landscape with the only two eagle species to occur as breeders north of Mexico - the Bald and the Golden Eagle. The first thing that comes to my mind that sets eagles apart from other birds of prey, is their great size. Imagine if you were six feet tall. An eagle standing beside you would be nearly half that height and its wingspan would be one foot greater than your outstretched arms. Eagles are by far the largest raptors here, and indeed, among the largest flying birds in the entire world.

The Bald Eagle has had an interesting past here, as indeed, in much of........

© Peterborough Examiner