Keys Audubon to hold Hawk Mania

The Florida Keys Audubon Society will hold its annual Hawk Mania event this Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14. It’s a chance to see and learn about the tens of thousands of hawks, falcons, eagles and ospreys that migrate through the Keys each fall.

On Friday at 6:30 p.m., bird-of-prey expert Jeff Bouton of Leica Sport Optics will speak at the Studios of Key West at 533 Eaton Street. Bouton will speak about his origins as a birding professional. He has worked as a bird bander, a hawk counter, a birding guide, and a field researcher all over the United States. He has led a team of competitive birdwatchers through Israel, and has sought out rare and beautiful birds pretty much anywhere you can point to on a map.

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be an all-day hawk watch at Higgs beach, between the Key West Garden Club and the White Street Pier. The Florida Keys function as a raptor super highway every fall, and the hawk watch is a chance to catch sight of birds like Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, Short-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and Bald Eagles as they migrate south. On hand will be knowledgeable birdwatchers such as Jeff Bouton, Rafael Galvez, director of the Florida Keys Hawk Watch, and Florida Keys Audubon representatives Mark Hedden and Dr. Mark Whiteside. There will also be bird walk at 10 a.m. led by local bird expert Mark Whiteside, seeking out songbirds and shorebirds in the immediately adjacent areas.

The event is open and free to kids and adults and anyone who is interested. No experience necessary.

For more information visit keysaudubon.org or email keysaudubon@gmail.com.