If you go to HBMO's website, they have a feature where you can look at monthly counts for any year that they have been counting. If you compare this October's monthly total with say, Oct 1975... How have things changed?
It seems that raptor numbers have increased for most species. For example, Bald Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons are both pretty easily seen now that DDT was banned. I'm surprised to see that Red -shouldered Hawks have increased. I was under the impression they were decreasing in numbers along with forest habitat. Turkey Vulture counts are just off the charts! This October, 48,000 - but back in Oct 1975 319 were seen!
To be fair when looking at the data, back in '75 they have 91 hours of observation, and this year, there was 223 hours of observation.
Its interesting to ponder what has tipped the scales for Turkey Vultures? Has the creation of more roads, created more roadkill, and more carrion diet for the species? Has our garbage both at landfills and campgrounds helped this species out in an exorbitant fashion?
I was interested to see what the numbers above would look like in a chart, so I created a quick vertical bar chart in Excel. One chart includes Turkey Vultures (distorting the scale for the other less numerous raptors) and one without Turkey Vultures to get a better look at the lower numbered raptor trends. If turkey vulture counts continue to increase, perhaps a logrithmic scale would be better to use when graphing monthly totals.
It seems that this week, Mars, Venus & Jupiter can be seen all in close proximity before sunrise. I might try to see it tomorrow... If its not too cloudy!