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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Record-setting Golden Eagle Migration at Bake Oven Knob


Superstorm Sandy brought a path of destruction to the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, but this natural event also brought an unprecedented migration phenomenon to the Bake Oven Knob Autumn Hawk Count, a long-term hawk migration research project of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center. While no one is celebrating the storm, the hawk counters did record an amazing natural event.

The most notable species to be affected by the storm was the Golden Eagle. When Hawk Mountain’s Maurice Broun reported seeing Golden Eagles migrating along the Kittatinny Ridge, many naturalists refused to believe him until they visited Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and saw them with their own eyes.  In the past ten years, an average of 92 of these magnificent birds were counted at Bake Oven Knob. But in five days from November 1 to November 5, 121 Golden Eagles were counted. To understand the incredible nature of this five-day flight, consider that in 52 years of autumn hawk counts at Bake Oven Knob, the total number of Goldens for the season only surpassed the 121 total from these five days two times—in 2003 and 2006.

Lehigh Gap Nature Center is a member-supported, nonprofit conservation and environmental education organization based at Lehigh Gap north of Slatington. The Center offers a speaking event by Diane Husic, Ph.D. entitled “A Decade of Research at Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge: What Are We Learning?” on Sunday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m.

For more information, call 610-760-8889 or email [email protected] For migration counts, visit

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