When you walk down the shady paved trail along the Huron River, you can hear water rushing by, the sound of Indigo Buntings singing in the distance, and muffled conversations of couples as they stroll down the trail.
Unless you listen carefully, you might not recognize the sounds of a family far above you, about 75 feet up, in the forest canopy.
A family that’s taken over an abandoned squirrel nest in the forks of a mature cottonwood tree.
Until you hear the high-pitched whistle of the Broad-winged Hawk.
This summer, along with many other birders, I’ve been delighted to watch from a distance a family of four Broad-winged Hawks: two adults and their two young birds with white-covered down faces.
The nest is carefully hidden in the leaves of the cottonwood tree.
Unless you hear the sound of one of the adults calling or you catch one of the adults perched nearby and flying to the nest to feed their young, you’re not likely to find the nest.
Soon, we expect the young birds to fly out of the nest and start hunting.
In September, they’ll start migrating south for winter, in groups of thousands of birds called kettles.
They’ll soar high in the sky as they ride thermals on their way to southern Central America and northern countries of South America.
I’ve seen the migration ifrom the western shore of Lake Erie, at the Lake Erie Metropark Hawk Watch, which brings hundreds of birders to the area in late September.
An incredible event to watch in person!