Thursday, June 1, 2023

Ferruginous Hawk: A new Dearborn bird?

The Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) is large hawk of the western prairies and grasslands. There are a number of records for Michigan in both spring and fall seasons, including one in Wayne County in November 1991.

On 3 May 2023, a vagrant female Ferruginous Hawks was found in a weakened state near Erieau, Ontario (west of Rondeau Provincial Park). It was released on 20 May near Wyoming, Ontario (just east of Sarnia) wearing a GPS tag. There are details available at this Bird Studies Canada web page.

This hawk wandered around southwest Ontario for over a week before crossing the Detroit River into Wayne County, Michigan near the mouth of the Rouge River on 30 May, according to a map that shows her travels. The map shows straight lines between data points, so her plotted route is probably not entirely accurate, but the data points show she flew over Dearborn. In fact, if we want to take this at face value, she flew over my former neighborhood and close to the northern part of the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Apparently, although there were no reported observations, there is a new species on the Dearborn checklist.

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