[Tweeters] Broad-winged Hawks in W Washington

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Fri Oct 24 15:45:45 PDT 2008

Charlie and Tweeters,

Broad-winged Hawks now appear to be regular, but still very rare, fall
migrants in southwestern BC. To the best of my knowledge, about 2 or 3 are
seen most years at the Rocky Point Bird Observatory west of Victoria. The
peak occurrence is in late September or very early October, about the same
time as Turkey Vulture numbers peak.

I'm not aware of any location on Vancouver Island which has reported "many"
Broad-winged Hawks in one year, and if so, I would seriously question the

In the Vancouver area, we probably have fewer than 10 sightings of
Broad-wings ever, although we do not have any regular hawk-watching
locations here. (Cypress Bowl in West Vancouver has proved worthwhile, but
hawk numbers there are fairly low.)

Prior to 10 or 15 years ago, Broad-wings were not known to nest west of the
Rocky Mountains. They were rare breeders even in the Peace River District of
northeastern BC. Recently, they have become regular but rather rare breeders
around Prince George in central BC, and probably in other nearby areas. We
can expect them to become more frequent as fall migrants in southern BC and
WA in future. However, they are still rare as migrants and should be
identified with caution. (I presume that all sightings should be reported,
with details, to the WA Records Committee until we hear otherwise.)

Wayne C. Weber
Delta, BC
contopus at telus.net

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Charlie
Sent: October-24-08 1:55 PM
To: Tweeters
Subject: [Tweeters] Re: Broad-wings & Goshawks

Hello All,
Keith is right about the regular occurance of Broad-winged Hawks at
locations with steady coverage in the Cascades (Chelan Ridge, Entiat Ridge,
Bonney Butte in Oregon). This movement in September/early October has been
known for over a decade. Very recently there have been a growing number of
records from the Columbia Basin, from Vantage to Hooper.

Even more interesting are a significant number of BWHA that have been
observed crossing the Straits of Juan de Fuca from southern Vancouver
Island. I'm not sure when these birds started being detected. These birds
obviously pass though western Washington somewhere west of the Cascades,
probably mostly west of Puget Sound where there are fewer birders. A couple
weeks ago I was looking at maps of one Vancouver Island spot which reported
many BWHA this fall, and if those birds glided due south they would go over
Salt Creek County Park, but perhaps they are swept one way or the other by
the prevailing winds.

Recent records that could reflect the edge of this movement include one on
Whidbey Island a few years ago, and one that I saw in Pierce County on 8
October this year (though the latter is perhaps more likely part of the
Cascades movement). More records from the Olympic Peninsula and perhaps the
outer coast would be expected with more vigilance out there.

Where these birds originate is also an interesting question. Broad-winged
Hawks have been steadily increasing as a breeder in central BC from what I
hear, but I'm not sure of the population numbers.

Charlie Wright
Bonney Lake, Washington
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