The days may be cooling down, but bird watching is heating up along the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. Bring your guidebooks and your gear, and aim your binoculars skyward to spot hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey at the Hitchcock Nature Center during the annual migration between September and December.
Crunch through piles of colorful leaves over the center’s ten miles of trails and equal access boardwalk, or breathe the invigorating fall air from atop the four-story observation deck as raptors soar overhead. The prevailing westerly windsin the nearby Missouri River Valley aid birds in their trip south along the Mississippi Flyway, creating a "hawk-highway" of moving air. Annual travelers include soaring Bald Eagles, diving Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, and Turkey Vultures with wingspans of more than six feet! Other local or visiting raptors include Northern Harriers, Mississippi Kites, and many more.
Birds of prey are far from the only inhabitants of the area. The center’s 1003 acres are home to other winged wildlife like Baltimore Orioles and American Goldfinches, as well as an abundance of other creatures, including badgers, cottontail rabbits, and ornate box turtles. The center also offers primitive camping, cabins, seasonal events, and much more. Visit the official website for more information. Travel down the Loess Hills Scenic Byway this fall and see some of nature’s long-distance voyagers – the raptors at the Hitchcock Nature Center.
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