Brockway Mountain is the ultimate paradise for bird lovers to watch raptor migration, and it is also a great place for research.
As a part of the Keweenaw Raptor Survey, Arthur Green spends eight hours of his day counting every raptor he sees passing through Brockway Mountain.
â??The purpose of the study is to basically assess migration in the Keweenaw Peninsula. On a national level, it's to basically study population trends of raptors, and we get an idea of how well the environment is doing just by the declines or increases that we see in different raptor population species over time,â?? said hawk counter Arthur Green.
Green has counted over 11,000 birds this season.
â??They have hook beaks which are designed to tear apart prey, and feet which they use to hunt and kill prey, and they typically hunt on the wing,â?? Green said.
When it comes to food, some raptors eat fish while others prefer song birds. Green says the purpose of the raptors is to take care of the surplus in the environment.
While many birds adapt and flourish in their environment, others may suffer from injuries which may require rehabilitation.
A Red-tailed Hawk named Sierra was one of the birds featured at the festival. Sierra can no longer survive in the wild because she was shot illegally, but now she is used for educational purposes.
The birds that are unable to live in the wild end up in the hands of Bart Kotarba from the Northwoods Wildlife Center, and he teaches people about the importance of these birds.
â??Doing programs like this helps build awareness because any place where there are mammals, birds, and insects, there are birds of prey that eat them, but sometimes the birds of prey can be right in your backyard and you donâ??t realize that theyâ??re there,â?? said Northwoods Wildlife Center Director of Education, Bart Kotarba.
For more information on the Migratory Bird Festival, click here.