Submitted by Dale Hubert
Flat Stanley visited Hawk Cliff on the north shore of Lake Erie in Southern Ontario. It is one of the best migratory routes for raptors in the whole world. When the birds fly south they don't like to fly over water. They prefer flying near land so they can rest and find food. They also like to fly along the cliffs so the thermals help them fly with less effort. In the fall, 30,000 Broadwing Hawks fly over in a single day!
There are some licensed banding stations. These are strictly controlled and only a chosen few get to become bird banders. Bird banders capture the hawks and record the specie, whether they are male or female, if they hatched this year or are older and record their size and weight. The birds are banded and released. The bands numbers so that when people find birds with a bands they can call the 800 telephone number and tell the band number. That lets the experts know how far the hawk travelled, how old it is, and how many hawks there are. This is very important research.
The banders wait in this tiny shack for the birds to get caught in the nets.
This is a Red-Tailed Hawk that was caught, banded and released.
This is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk and a Flat Stanley caught in the net.
Flat Stanley sure was brave! Those Red-Tail Hawks can be mean.
Dale Hubert, the creator of the Flat Stanley Project, holds a Red-Tailed Hawk and a Flat Stanley.
Don't try this at home, kids!
The picture above shows something very unusual. A Red-Tailed Hawk went into the net but after a few seconds it hopped out. Gary Hubert, one of the banders, ran after the hawk and captured it with his bare hands!
Then the hawk captured Gary, too. Ouch!
The other banders had to help pull the talons out of Gary's finger.
This is Gary and the Red-Tailed Hawk.
Look at the size of those talons. Can you see the band on its leg?
The birds are handled very carefully and aren't hurt at all. In fact, some hawks come back several times. The hawks don't treat the banders as carefully as the following pictures show.
In the picture above, master bander Bob Hubert is releasing this Red-Tailed Hawk, but the hawk didn't release him. Just as it took flight it grabbed onto Bob's arm. There were several punctures wounds. The picture below is a close-up of the hawk grabbing his arm.
These are the banders who were at the banding station that Flat Stanley visited. From left to right they are Bob Hubert, his brother Gary Hubert and long time friend, Frank Henry.