Reverse Raptor Migration

Over the last week we have observed several large flocks of vultures and hawks passing over Soberania National Park.  These kettles of Turkey Vulture, Swainson’s Hawk and Broad-winged Hawk are currently on northerly migration, returning to their North-American breeding grounds.  This spring migration does not form such a spectacle as the infamous southerly autumn raptor migration.  This is because spring raptors returning north follow a route on the Caribbean slope, rather than the southerly migration on the Pacific slope which can be seen by many people from Panama City.  When travelling north the raptors also utilise the dry-season trade-winds, and therefore traverse Panama much more quickly, with some flocks crossing Panama in a single day.

A photo of a Broad-winged Hawk taken whilst birdwatching Pipeline Road Panama
A Broad-winged Hawk perches above Soberania National Park, Panama

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