It’s amazing to watch a large number of raptors rise high into the sky as they make their annual migration. It seems as if they rise into the sky with little too no effort. This is actually quite accurate. It takes very little effort for raptors to fly if there are thermals for them to ride.
A thermal is rising warm air that a bird can catch and ride up into the sky. Once they reach the top of the thermal, they glide out of it, slowly losing altitude and looking for the next one. Once they find one, the process starts all over again. When there are many birds in a thermal, we call it a kettle.
The spectacle that is created when this happens is remarkable. There are places all over the world where you can go and watch this happen. Some of the most famous hawk watching locations are Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania and Veracruz, Mexico.
Each fall, people go to these locations to watch thousands of raptors complete their migration. Veracruz is likely the most amazing location in the world with four to six million birds passing overhead each fall!
Have you ever seen a kettle or raptors? Or, have you ever visited a hawk watch site? If you would like to, you can find one in North America to visit here.