Caesars Head hosts annual 'Hawk Watch'

CLEVELAND, S.C. – Caesars Head State Park will play host to its annual Hawk Watch from now through the end of November, as thousands of birds pass over the park during their migratory journey.

Every year, members of the Greenville County Bird Club and general volunteers monitor the skies atop the more than 3,200 foot overlook on the top of Caesars Head in Cleveland, S.C. During the two-months-long watch, these bird enthusiasts keep a daily count of the winged beauties en route to warmer climates as thousands of visitors from Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and South Carolina come to enjoy the spectacle.

"If we’re real lucky, the birds kettle right over the overlook," said Park Interpreter Tim Lee. "The updrafts of warm, rising air allow the birds to gain more altitude and to soar for much further distances. It’s an energy conservation strategy."

According to Lee, the broad-winged hawk’s peak of migration over Caesars Head is usually around mid-September, plus or minus a week. Although the broad-winged is the most common sighting, the park’s bird count records dating back to 1988 indicate that sightings have also included bald eagle, osprey, sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's hawk, merlin, American kestrel, Mississippi kite, turkey vulture and black vulture, as well as other migrating birds such as ravens, warblers, hummingbirds, red-headed woodpeckers and blue jays.

On Sat., Sept. 16, the park invites the public to attend a free program on hawk migration, bird identification and the importance of the counts throughout North America. The seminar is from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Caesars Head Overlook. Reservations to attend should be made in advance by calling the park at 864-836-6115.

Caesars Head State Park is located at 8155 Geer Hwy. For more information about the park’s annual hawk watch or volunteering as a bird counter, contact Tim Lee at 864-836-6115.

For more information about upcoming bird club events, visit the Greenville County Bird Club website.