On September 23, thirty seventh graders from Grayson County Public Schools attended the Mahogany Rock Hawk Watch to experience the niche dedication of Hawk Counters and the mass migration of Broad-winged Hawks. Jim Keighton from the Blue Ridge Birders has been recording the migration of birds of prey for nearly twenty years! Each fall Jim sets up his swivel chair and interpretive displays along the parkway and begins scanning the sky. Not only does he diligently track the migration but he also takes the time to educate the passerby about the migration occurring overhead.
These seventh graders got to enjoy the migration of eagles, falcons and broad-winged hawks while spending the day with local birding experts and the treasure trove of knowledge they carry. By participating in this citizen science project the students learned how to count and record data, how to identify species, how to use binoculars and spotting scopes, learned about migration patterns and techniques, but most importantly they were introduced to phenomenal bird migration happening right in their backyards.
Many thanks to Jim Keighton and his long standing stewardship of the bird populations of the Blue Ridge.