Where to See Raptors in Winter in Sonoma County

7 December 2023

Forget canaries in the coal mine. For Larry Broderick, the real indicator species are raptors soaring high overhead, hunting along Sonoma’s rich marshlands, or nesting in our native trees. “They’re a biological bellwether,” says the Santa Rosa-based leader of the Jenner Headlands Raptor Migration Project and West County HawkWatch. “When things are going wrong with them, it often means that things can go wrong with us.”

Citizen scientists like Broderick consider fall and winter the best time of year to observe these adaptable hunters. That’s when migratory harriers, hawks, kites, kestrels, merlins, eagles, and osprey from farther north join year-round residents countywide in search of “little furry things” to eat.

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