Description: Categories 3 and 4-- The Loess Hills are a nearly unique land formation. The habitat around Hitchcock is very different than the usual flat farmlnds of Iowa. Breeding birds include Whip-poor-wills, Scarlet Tanagers, Cooper's Hawks,Wood Thrushes, and Ovenbirds. Some of the species are abundant nesters. Past unusual summer residents have included Hooded Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher. A more extensive summer survey will be complted in two weeks. The Missouri River Valley and the Loess Hills also serve as an important migratory corrdior for a wide variety of species. Category 5-- the ongoing fall hawkwatch, in less than full-time coverage, counts 5,700-8,400 thousand raptors/vultures of 18-19 different species each fall. The watch has been rcorgnized as an important hawkwatching site by both Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Wildbird magazine-- Mark O
I recently became aware that Hitchcock definitely meets category 2 and possibly category 1 (as well as the other three categories that I detailed in the first nomination).
Category 1- Five species in this category are annual, with abundance levels varying from rare to abundant, at Hitchcock during fall and spring migration (Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, Short-eared Owl, and Peregrine Falcon). Two of these species (Northern Harrier and Bald Eagle) are sometimes found at or near Hitchcock in winter.
Category 2- Black-billed Cuckoo, Wood Thrush, and Grasshopper Sparrow are regular and current breeders. Abundance levels range from occasional to common. Black-crowned Night Heron, Broad-winged Hawk (present in 2002), and Hooded Warbler have been present in two of the last four years.
Hawkwatch summaries are available here. Summaries open in a new window.