Fall migration is underway: Here are the birds you can still catch in the Vermont sky

Vermont birdwatchers should point their binoculars to the sky, as the transition into fall means many bird species are already on the move.

Even with fall foliage nearing its peak in some parts of the state, Vermont’s bird population isn’t wasting its time sightseeing. Fall migration has already begun for some birds, while others are preparing to head south.

Canada geese fly in formation above South Burlington on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020.

Hawks

Linda Verba took this shot of a raptor that dropped in for a visit at her back deck in Shelburne.

Hawk migration has been ongoing throughout September, nearing its peak in the middle of the month, according to Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s biweekly bird report.

Some fortunate bird enthusiasts may have already seen broad-winged hawks flying past Mount Philo or Snake Mountain, according to Mark LaBarr, conversation program manager for Audubon Vermont.

“We may be a little on the tail end of that migration,” LaBarr said.

Ranging from broad-winged hawks, ospreys, bald eagles and peregrine falcons, the region is no stranger to raptors flying through the air.

For more: Light pollution is confusing migratory birds – how you can help

Loons

A young loon gets a ride on its mother's back as its sibling follows along in the waters of Mirror Lake in Calais. Once endangered, loons are among a number of species that had once all-but disappeared from Vermont which are making a comeback.

While groups, or “rafts” of adult loons have already flown the coop, many young loons will be lingering around lakes and ponds across the state until the midway point of the fall season, according to Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Vermont birding: What to look for and where to go in the winter

Geese

Canada Geese fly over South Burlington on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

Not all geese migrate during the winter, but September and October are the best chances to see those that do, flying in a V-formation. 

Some Vermonters have reported Canada geese flying north, LaBarr said, which often occurs when they need to move back and forth between feeding grounds. 

Meanwhile, snow geese as well as other water bird sightings may be on the rise within the next couple of weeks leading up to Election Day.

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or ebakuli@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.

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