This site is one of the few places where raptors using the Central Flyway are monitored. Hitchcock Nature
Area is located at the edge of the Missouri River Valley where the Loess Hills deflect the prevailing westerly winds. One
unique feature of the site is the regular passage of Swainson's Hawks, a species not usually found that far east. Last year's
season total of 1,452 Swainson's Hawks was primarily the result of a single huge flock that passed on October 1 containing
1,114 birds. Late in the season, Red-tailed Hawks pass through in large numbers accompanied regularly by Rough-legged Hawks
and Bald Eagles. This site is only "officially" monitored on weekends, but the rangers at the lodge will gladly direct visitors
to the lookout points any day of the week.
To learn more about this site, visit the Hitchcock Nature Area Hawkwatch Web site.
© Hugh P. Smith, Jr.