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Old 09-17-2017, 12:52 PM   #1
Slickcraft
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Default Kettle of Hawks

At about noon yesterday we noticed a large flock of red tailed hawks circling above above our house in West Alton. We estimated at least 30 and maybe as many as 50 birds soaring counter clockwise in a loosely organized group. We watched for about 5 minutes as they gained altitude and slowly drifted south above the rising ridge behind our house.

We had no idea what was going on as we had never heard of a kettle of hawks. A bit of on line looking shed some light: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettle_(birds)

Anyway it was an impressive sight.
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Old 09-17-2017, 03:38 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
At about noon yesterday we noticed a large flock of red tailed hawks circling above above our house in West Alton. We estimated at least 30 and maybe as many as 50 birds soaring counter clockwise in a loosely organized group. We watched for about 5 minutes as they gained altitude and slowly drifted south above the rising ridge behind our house.

We had no idea what was going on as we had never heard of a kettle of hawks. A bit of on line looking shed some light: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettle_(birds)

Anyway it was an impressive sight.
Quite interesting. I was not familiar with the term "kettle of hawks" either, so I went to the Wikipedia link you provided for information. The description there was helpful; "... the appearance of birds circling tightly in a thermal updraft 'like something boiling in a cauldron'". That provides a good mental image of what you saw.

I checked with my resident bird expert, Quilt Lady, and she says birds sometimes form "kettles" in the sky shortly before migrating south.

Thanks for the report.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:10 PM   #3
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Default High Flying Seekers

Perhaps they were looking for a kettle of fish. 🐠 🐟
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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Every Fall the NH Audubon hosts the Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory at Miller State Park. It is a spectacular event as you can watch hundreds of migrating Raptors go by, especially when the wind is from the northwest. It is not uncommon to see very large kettles (also called boils) of Hawks there as they ride the circular warm air updrafts through the valleys. Bring a chair or blanket and a pair of binoculars and enjoy.

This is not my image, but it will give you a sense of what a boil looks like.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:37 PM   #5
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Thanks, Airedale1, I see that they are not all red tailed hawks in the photo. Not sure that all in the group that we saw were red tailed, we were too surprised to be good observers. A "boil" is a good term for what we saw.

Here is a video of a kettle of broad winged hawks, comparable in numbers of birds to what we saw:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJTBnN1FTb0
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:00 PM   #6
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I have various redtails that have lived on/near my mill building for years. I have never seen groups of them flying around. In southern Nh the only groups that look similar that I've seen flying together are turkey vultures. Are you sure they were hawks?
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:47 PM   #7
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I have various redtails that have lived on/near my mill building for years. I have never seen groups of them flying around. In southern Nh the only groups that look similar that I've seen flying together are turkey vultures. Are you sure they were hawks?
Absolutely sure. Mid Sept is hawk migration time, this has info from prior years:
http://www.nhaudubon.org/tag/hawk-migration/

Also look at post #4 and the video link in post #5
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