Hundreds flock to Holiday Beach for ‘Festival of Hawks’

By Joel Charron

Holiday Beach Conservation Area has once again kicked off the Migration Celebration at the annual Festival of Hawks from September 17 through 25.

Known as the “Migration Hot Spot” in Southwestern Ontario, raptors move along the shores of the Great Lakes and gather along the Lake Erie shoreline waiting for favourable wind and weather conditions so that they can cross the lake and continue their migration route.

Bald Eagles, Monarch butterflies, Hummingbirds, and magnificent hawks can be

Bird watchers and photographers are perched upon the top of the hawk tower waiting for the raptors to make an apperance.

witnessed at the migration spectacle that is the Festival of Hawks.

The Holiday Beach Conservation Area in partnership with the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory has many educational activities planned throughout the Festival of Hawks.

The weekend included hawk banding demonstrations, hawk migration viewing, how to identify hawks in flight, songbird demonstrations, a dragonfly hike, monarch tagging, and children’s nature crafts. Zoo-to-You presentations on Saturday also helped people learn about animals from around the world while people were allowed to experience the amazing live raptors in flight from Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

According to Holiday Beach Migration Observatory President Bob Pettit the Festival of Hawks attracts hundreds of people every year.

“We get people from all over, not just Windsor/Essex County. People travel from as far as Toronto, London and Michigan,” said Pettit.

Pettit also mentioned that not only do they want people to come out and watch the hawks but also want to educate them on the raptors.

“We teach people what hawks are doing and where they are going,” said Pettit. “We want to introduce anyone who wants to understand about it through banding and first hand examination.”

Roughly 13-15 species of hawks can be found during the Festival of Hawks.

Aimed with a pair of binoculars and a camera, Michigan native, Nelson Cloutier said he’s been attending the Festival of Hawks for roughly 10 years.

“These creatures are magnificent,” he said. “Seeing them glide through the air so effortlessly is a thing of beauty.”

The event runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with it being recommended to attend between 9 a.m.-12 noon if people want to see the hawks. That is the best time to see hawks flying low, according to Pettit.

Comments are closed.