Braddock Bay Raptor Research Project

I’ve always had a fascination with raptors.  I remember the many times my family and I visited the aquarium in Niagara Falls many years ago.  One of the highlights was the raptor feedings when one of the trainers would put a mouse or other prey in the hawk’s cage.  (I know that probably sounds creepy; it’s a boy-thing, I’m sure!)

Anyway, I learned very recently that just 30 minutes from home is an internationally known migration project called the Braddock Bay Raptor Research.  So, one Sunday morning, I grabbed my camera and telephoto lens and headed off to see what I could find.

There’s a very large observation deck from which avid birdwatchers can view the hawks, osprey, eagles, and other raptors.  Hundreds of thousands are seen every year during the migration season between the beginning of March and the end of May.  In fact, Braddock Bay is such a hot spot for raptor migration that a full-time researcher is assigned to the project.

Raptor scientist-researcher scopes the skies from Frisbee Hill Park in Greece, NY to count raptors during migration season.

Because of the gusting winds off of Lake Ontario that morning, viewing the raptors from the usual observation deck was a bust.  So, with the raptors, I moved inland to Frisbee Hill Park and met the full-time researcher, Luke.

Luke and I were the only ones atop Frisbee Hill that day; it was brutally hot!  I couldn’t believe it when he said that he spends anywhere between 8-12 hours a day counting the number of and type of raptors.  Check out these amazing raptor sighting statistics!

Unfortunately, since it was at the “end of the migration season” and due to the strong winds, the eagle we saw was too far and flying away from us for a closeup.  The osprey atop a cell phone tower in the distance were indistinguishable with my telephoto lens.  The only raptor I was able to photograph that day was the very common (and I might add, ugly) Turkey Vulture.

Turkey Vulture above Frisbee Hill

Turkey Vulture above Frisbee Hill

Rochester, New York has some amazing opportunities for wildlife and nature photography.  My calendar is set for next March so that I can enjoy two months of raptor sightings at Braddock Bay.  If you’re interested, come and join me!


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