When and where to look for hawks migrating south in November
While you're out looking at fall colors, nature is putting on another spectacular display: the migration of thousands of hawks.
While you're out looking at fall colors, nature is putting on another spectacular display: the migration of thousands of hawks. Hawk migration typically ends during November but this year it may be longer. Five species migrate through the Tennessee Valley during this time.
On the eastern side of Walden's Ridge in Soddy Daisy on Jones Gap Road you can see for miles, making this the perfect spot to view hawks migrating before winter. It all depends on the temperature how long you'll be able to see these birds in flight.
Bill Haley initiated the hawk watch on Soddy Mountain more than 25 years ago. So far this fall, he's been up to Walden's Ridge 30 times
"We usually start in Mid September, and the hawk migration will continue all the way through November," says Haley.
Bill says the hawks are late risers, and somewhat lazy. To view these birds, you don't have to get up before 10 in the morning. The broad winged hawk will actually travel for hundreds of miles in a day without ever flapping it's wings.
Haley adds, "Usually by 3 or 4 o clock, they're done."
This is due to thermals, warm columns of air. Bill says if you see a hawk circling, it's riding a thermal so it can continue to glide. Hawks will move from thermal to thermal during the day.
To see hundreds or even thousands of hawks, watch our forecast, because the best time is on a day with a front or low pressure approaching. High pressure is too dense.
"The hawks wake up and they say, no the air is too heavy today, I'm not going to fly today," says Haley.
A partly cloudy sky with an easterly wind is perfect for these hawks. The air hits the ridge then rises.
"It's like a roller coaster ride south," adds Haley.
The Temperature Outlook through November 11th indicates we're well above normal. And the next decent cold snap may not occur again until November 13th and 14th, making the middle of the month the best time to view thousands of hawks migrating through our area.
Bill Haley loves to talk about the hawks he will be up on Soddy Mountain again on November 11th. To view his recent sightings, check out his blog here.