Amherstburg– All eyes will be on the skies this September as local birders and nature lovers take in one of North America’s greatest migrations. Tens of thousands of hawks and raptors will fly overhead on their annual journey to nesting grounds in the south.
In recognition of the amazing sight, Essex Region Conservation, in partnership with the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO), will host the 2021 Festival of Hawks in a modified manner, to ensure guest safety. The festival, which takes place on September 18, will features a range of educational activities and nature-themed programming.
HBMO experts will be on-site conducting hawk and hummingbird banding and adoptions. Event goers will see a variety of raptors as experts measure, tag, and then release these birds back into the wild.
Educational programs will complement the ongoing banding and live raptor programs. Local experts will be on-site to teach on a wide range of birding and nature-related topics. These programs include:
- HBMO’s Bob Pettit will be on hand to provide expertise on identifying hawks in flight.
- ERCA’s Gina Pannunzio will host an interactive workshop focusing on the mystery of one of our local iconic species, the Monarch Butterfly and lead a forest interpretive hike in Holiday Beach.
- Ted Kloske from Henry’s will provide an expert nature photography workshop.
- Sales of native plants will be available through the Native Tree and Plant Nursery.
“Holiday Beach Conservation Area has been identified as one of the 10 best sites in all of North America to experience the raptor migration,” notes Danielle Breault Stuebing, ERCA’s Director of Communications & Outreach. “Whether an expert birder or nature-loving family, there’s something for everyone at the annual Festival of Hawks.”
The Festival will take place from 9am to 3pm on September 18. Festival admission fee of $15 per vehicle is in effect. The Hawk Tower will be closed to the public as physical distancing cannot be maintained. To ensure visitor safety, capacity for walks and talks will be limited to ensure proper distancing. This year’s program will also include some enhanced experiences where additional fees and pre-registration will be required. Click here for the final list of programs.
The best raptor viewing time is from 9am until noon when the hawks fly low. The Holiday Beach Conservation Area is located on County Road 50, on Lake Erie near Malden Centre approximately 15km southeast of historic Amherstburg.
For more than four decades, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.