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Saturday, October 8, 2011. MPG Ranch counts an all-time record of 163 raptors, in five hours! Five days of wet weather gave way to a sunny day and the birds flew over Baldy in a steady stream. The major highlight was 40 red-tailed hawks in just 15 minutes. It was a spectacle and one that may be unique to our location. The red-tailed hawk total was 90 for the day.

Adam and William of Raptor View Research Institute banded a Cooper's hawk and their first adult red-tailed hawk. The big surprise to end the day was a golden eagle capture, marking the first migrant eagle banded on the ranch this fall.

Raptor totals:

Red-tailed hawk: 90

Sharp-shinned hawk: 30

Cooper's hawk: 21

American kestrel: 7

Unidentified accipiter: 4

Golden eagle: 3

Northern goshawk: 2

Osprey: 2

Swainson's hawk: 2

Northern harrier- 1

Turkey vulture- 1

About the Author

Eric Rasmussen

Eric received a B.S. in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana in 2000, and soon after volunteered for his first bird research job in the arctic tundra of Alaska. Afterwards he worked for nine years, mostly in western Montana, on bird-related research projects for the U.S. Forest Service.

In 2010, Eric was hired by MPG Ranch as the Bird Research Technician and now conducts breeding bird surveys, raptor migration surveys, and winter bird surveys, as well as participating in other ranch projects such as owl and raptor banding and community field trips. In his free time, Eric enjoys searching for wild mushrooms, playing ultimate Frisbee, and backcountry skiing.