Learn About ‘Super-Flocking’ During Raptor Migration Talk at PEEC

Raptor migration in Veracruz, Mexico. Courtesy/photo

PEEC News:

It’s well known that some birds fly south for the winter, but migrating raptors put on an extreme show when hundreds of them converge near Veracruz, Mexico each year.

Learn more about this phenomenon from birder Robert Templeton at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center.

The largest concentration of migrating raptors in the world occurs each fall in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

The geography of North America causes most of the migratory raptors from the U.S. and Canada to be funneled onto a narrow stretch of coastal plain just north of Veracruz City.

On average, 4.5 million raptors are recorded at two migration count sites operated by Pronatura Veracruz, a Mexican Conservation Organization.

U.S. Birders generally experience raptors as solitary birds. But during migration, these “super-flocking” species form flocks that number in the tens of thousands.

The result is a natural phenomenon of epic proportions and stunning natural beauty.

After visiting the River of Raptors in 2000 and 2005, Templeton, a former Los Alamos teacher, began volunteering at the count site and studying the phenomenon.

His responsibilities have included writing informational materials for visitors and teaching an introductory workshop for student interns from Mexico and Central America.

He has created a manual for use in that workshop that covers every aspect of the migration including raptor flight dynamics, routes, timing, flocking behavior and conservation issues.

Using video, graphs and photos, Templeton will address questions about the migration, flocks, counters and conservation in this free talk.

The Pajarito Environmental Education Center is at 3540 Orange Street, behind Los Alamos High School. Visit www.PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460 or e-mail Programs@PajaritoEEC.org for more information about this program.

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