Winged Migration

Winged Migration (HM211L)

Location: New Haven, CT 06512 New Haven County
Buy Connecticut State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 41° 14.934', W 72° 54.213'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

A Birdwatcher's Dream

You're standing at one of the best hawk-watching sites in New England. Every autumn birds of prey from Northern New England and Canada migrate south in a broad band across New England. Because theses birds don't like to fly over large, open bodies of water, when they reach Long Island Sound they turn west, toward New York City, and concentrate along the coast-especially at the south-protruding peninsula of Lighthouse Point. More than 12,000 raptors pass through here each fall. During peak migration in September and October, thousands of birds can go by in a single day!

What is a Hawk?
Hawks belong to a group of birds known as raptors, which includes eagles, ospreys, kites, falcons and owls. All raptors are predators. They use their excellent eyesight-much better than ours-to spot their prey, other birds, small mammals, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, or carrion. Raptors catch prey with the sharp talons on their powerful feet and use their strong curved beaks to tear food apart. Some raptors, like American kestrel, eat a wide variety of animals, while others specialize in one type of prey. Ospreys eat mostly fish, making spectacular dives into the water in pursuit of their prey. Several adaptations make ospreys very good at catching fish: they can completely seal their
nostrils underwater and rough pads on their feet help them hold onto slippery fish.

Why do Hawks Migrate?
Like any predator: hawks and the raptors depend on an abundant supply of prey. In winter there isn't enough food to sustain many hawks. Some prey types like many small mammals, hibernate during the winter. Amphibians and reptiles are dormant, and takes many freeze over, preventing access to fish. Hawks head for warmer climates where they can find food.

How Do They Know Where to Go?
Birds can travel thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes. But how do they know where they're gong? We don't completely understand how birds navigate, but they probably use three main techniques to guide them: flying but the sun and stars, sensing Earth's magnetic fields and recognizing local landmarks. Some of the hawks that pass through Lighthouse Point Park are headed for the southeast United States. Others travel even farther to Central or South America.

"We don't completely understand how birds navigate, but they probably use three main techniques to guide them: flying but the sun and stars, sensing Earth's magnetic fields and recognizing local landmarks."
Right: Cooper's Hawk

Lighthouse Point Park
Raptor Checklist


American kestrel
Peregrine falcon

Bald eagles
Golden eagles

Broad-winged hawk
Red-shouldered hawk
Red-tailed hawk
Rough-legged hawk

Cooper's hawk
Northern goshawk
Sharp-shinned hawk

Northern harrier

What Species Can You See?
The most frequently observed raptors at Lighthouse Point Park, include sharp-shinned hawks, Cooper's hawks, ospreys northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrels. Bald eagles show up consistently, although not in large numbers, and a few golden eagles also pass through each year. Check out the complete list of raptor species you might see here.

Global Travelers
One of the most impressive migration sights at Lighthouse Point Park is that of a flock-or-kettle-of-broad-winged hawks flying overhead. These birds fly in groups that can number in the thousands. The kettles that pass through here are smaller, but grow larger as the birds travel south and others join them. Broad-winged hawks nest in Connecticut's forests, where they can hunt, for rodents insects, reptiles and other birds. They sit and wait for their prey then swoop down to catch it with their sharp talons. When the days begin to get cooler, broad-winged hawks head for warmer climates. Some of the birds that pass over lighthouse Point have flown down from Canada and still have a long way to go. Broad-winged hawks travel as far as South America, a distance of over 4,000 miles! During their migration they take advantage of rising air currents, called thermals, that form along the coast. Riding these currents saves them energy during their long journey.
HM NumberHM211L
Placed ByYale Peabody Museum of Natural History
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, August 24th, 2017 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 675654 N 4568507
Decimal Degrees41.24890000, -72.90355000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 14.934', W 72° 54.213'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 14' 56.04" N, 72° 54' 12.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)203
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , New Haven CT 06512, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?