Now that the Oscars have been handed out, it's time to turn our attention to another annual spectacle. But rather than beautiful people in silk and satin, the focus now is feathers: majestic birds, to be precise, such as hawks, falcons, and eagles. They'll be soaring overhead in the thousands during the next few weeks, heading north for their summer homes. Here are the best places to see them.
Montana Check out the Rocky Mountain Front Eagle Migration Area in southwestern Montana. There's no better spot in the whole country for watching Golden Eagles -- more than 800 were counted there in a previous year. Bald Eagles have also been known to pass through the area.
Texas At the southernmost tip of Texas is the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, where it's possible now to see thousands of Broad-winged Hawks at a glance. Add to these birds the numerous Swainson's Hawks and other species that visit Santa Ana each spring, and it becomes clear why this Texas refuge is a favorite of birders from around the world.
Michigan Duluth seems to be the place for Bald Eagles this year. Earlier this month a hawk watcher along the shores of Lake Superior counted almost 150 Bald Eagles in one day and 400 on another day. Besides Bald Eagles, the area is probably the best in North America for watching migrating Northern Goshawks and Rough-legged Hawks.
New York If you've ever wanted to see plenty of hawks -- up to 100,000 in the course of a month or two -- the best spots in the Northeast this spring are Braddock Bay State Park in Rochester and Derby Hill in the town of Mexico.
New Jersey On the East Coast, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, is an outstanding place to find migrating Ospreys, Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and American Kestrels. Go on a clear day when the winds are westerly. And remember to bring a camera.