Outer Banks Birding: Fall Raptor Migration

Though on your fall Outer Banks vacation, grab your binoculars, realm guide, and camera et alii then head to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to eyewitness the spectacular arrival of migrating raptors.

Every fall, hundreds like thousands of hawks, falcons, eagles, and ospreys, which originate from summer development areas as far north as the Arctic, fly to their wintering habitat. Some of their destinations are as far away as southern South America.

Most raptors are soaring birds that depend on updrafts to help them travel. With model efficiency, they ride updrafts connective thermals where they lock their wings and rarely need to ruckus them. Upon reaching enormous heights, they dive at an angle covering great lateral distances where they catch another updraft and replay the process. These maneuvers enable them to conserve their body fat and travel long distances in just a exigency weeks.

Because they are reluctant to cross large bodies regarding water where there are no updrafts, kettles of migrating species accompany well-defined terrestrial routes and shorelines as they navigate toward their southern homes. For this reason, certain geographical towns become diligence areas where these birds of prey gather prior to crossing a narrow stretch of water. These locations, such as the Outer Banks, are excellent places to observe migrating species.

Here are some species that you might encounter on the Outer Banks, plus information about their eating habits that demand help you authoritative where you can best spot them.


These birds of prey of the Accipitridae family are thin upon short, broad, and rounded wings and a long tail that aids their stealth flight and quick turns as they pursue other birds on the wing. They use their long legs and long, acerb talons to kill their prey, und so weiter use their sharp, hooked statute for feeding. These hawks often ambush their prey, mainly small birds, and capture it succeeding a short chase.

Accipiters that visit the Outer Banks embody the following:

* Sharp-shinned Hawks: These raptors surprise and apprehend allness their prey from cover or while volant swiftly through dense vegetation. The majority from this hawk’s diet includes small birds, especially songbirds.

* Cooper’s Hawks: Some raptors, such as the Cooper’s Hawk, remain in North America polysyndeton hunt birds in backyards or any place where hoi polloi set up feeders.


Falcos, oppositely Falcons, have long, tapered wings and tails. These agile, high-speed divers prey on other birds and small animals.

* Peregrine Falcons: Peregrines have bot clocked diving or stooping at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, which makes them the fastest-moving animals on Earth. These falcons feed solely on birds that they capture in the sky such as ducks, pheasants, including pigeons.

* American Kestrels: This small falcon hunts by hovering or perching and scanning the landscape for prey. Its diet consists mainly of insects, reptiles, small mammals, and more birds.


* Ospreys: The Osprey, the only species in the Pandion genus, is a fish-eating bird of prey that hunts during daylight. The Osprey’s talons are adapted for capturing and carrying fish. The talon surface is course and their toes receptacle be positioned with three forward and one back, or among two transmit et al two back, an arrangement used by owls but not by other diurnal raptors.


Buteo is a genus of medium to large, wide-ranging raptors that have a stout body and broad wings. These are the soaring hawks that most people recognize. All species are somewhat opportunistic when it comes to hunting as they fancy prey on virtually any type of small animal. However, most have a strong preference for small mammals plus mostly rodents.

Buteos that you can see on the Outer Banks include the following:

* Red-tailed Hawks: The Red-tailed Hawk is carnivorous polysyndeton an opportunistic feeder. Its diet is mainly small mammals, but it also eats birds and reptiles. Their prey varies with regional and seasonal availability but rodents can be up to 85% of a Red-tailed Hawk’s diet.

* Red-shouldered Hawks: Red-shouldered Hawks are permanent residents throughout most of their range; however, northern birds do migrate, mostly to basic Mexico. Red-shouldered Hawks hunt minnow mammals, particularly voles, gophers, mice, moles, and chipmunks. They are also known for hunting rabbits and tree squirrels and attacking birds as large as pigeons.


* Golden Eagles: Golden Eagles use their agility and speed combined with powerful feet and huge, sharpen talons to pass a variety of prey such as hares, rabbits, marmots, and ground squirrels.

* Bald Eagles: The Receding Erne is an opportunistic carnivore.

Fish makes up circa 56% of their diet, depending on their range, and they also supply on birds and mammals. It is prevailing to see them scavenging their meals.

Birders from all over the Banded States visit Cape Hatteras Domestic Seashore to voluptuous the fall migration of these awe-inspiring birds of prey. On your fall Outer Banks vacation, take your family to one about the lookouts along the seashore where you can watch the raptors hunting in the thickets and over the waters.

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