Autumn raptor migration through the Florida Keys Thesis

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Brashear, Cindy Beth

abstract

  • This study documents the 1996 and 1997 autumn migration seasons at Grassy Key for 16 species of raptors (hawks, eagles, and falcons). My results indicate the Florida Keys are a major raptor migration flyway (over 26,000 sightings). I identified factors influencing watch-site location in the Keys. Northbound flights must be included to avoid inflating southbound counts. By removing the "season effect" (natural rise, peak, and wane of raptor numbers during migration), I demonstrate wind has little consistent effect on raptor counts in the Keys. I further demonstrate we do not see more raptors on cold front days than on non-cold front days. However, cold fronts following tropical storms (as in 1996) increase the number of raptors observed for most species. I conducted a nightly roosting survey on Boot Key resulting in near or over 3,000 raptor sightings per season and present a model to predict aerial counts from roosting counts.

publication date

  • March 27, 1998

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)