River of Raptors

More than seven million birds of prey of more than 20 species fill the air over the Mexican coastal plain at Veracruz, Mexico, every fall between late September and early October—more than anyplace else in the world.

A recent sampling between August 20 and October 23 counted 2.5 million broad-winged and 1.2 million Swainson’s hawks alone, along with such non-raptors as pelicans, storks, ibises, and thousands of songbirds. In a single day there can be 435,000 birds rising on thermal air patterns and funneling down from Texas onto this narrow coastal corridor area.

This Rio de Rapaces, or River of Raptors, is protected by a private group, Pronatura Veracruz, working with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in the U.S. Lodging is available in Veracruz.