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Word of the Week: Kettle

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Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each week to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Word of the week is Kettle [KET+UHL] (verb): wheeling and circling in the air as a group of raptors does. This term is mostly used to describe raptors such as Turkey Vultures, hawks or eagles as they circle tightly while riding thermal updrafts. It looks as if they were boiling in a kettle or cauldron. Before migration Turkey Vultures often kettle in the hundreds. Kettling up on thermals before gliding allows raptors to travel more efficiently using less energy.

The hawk watchers in High Park get to see raptors throughout the fall migration – many of them kettling. As of September 22, 2021 they have witnessed 632 raptors migrating south. In their 27 years of hawk watching, these dedicated community scientists have documented their findings at the Hawk Migration Association of North America’s Raptor Migration Database website.

Next time you are in High Park – take a minute to look up and see if you can see any migrating raptors kettling.

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