Spring Migration Hawk Watch Launches April 1, 2022

Free Weekend Programs & Raptorthon

Posted on March 25, 2022 in Visitors

Hawk Mountain invites visitors to the Mountain for the 2022 Spring Migration Hawk Watch, plus the return of fun and educational weekend programs. Beginner and expert birders are welcome to join the official counter looking for returning raptors and other spring migrants from April 1 through May 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the Sanctuary’s beautiful North Lookout.

Trail fees apply for non-members and cost $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Tickets can be purchased at hawkmountain.ticketleap.com. Members are admitted free, year-round, and memberships can be purchased online or at the Visitor Center.

During the count, staff, trainees, and volunteers will be perched at the Lookout to help visitors learn about and identify raptors, including broad-winged hawks, redtails, ospreys, bald eagles, and more. The Sanctuary has monitored the spring raptor migration since the 1960s and reports an average of about 1,000 raptors each 45-day season. Usual one-day peak counts can reach more than 100 birds in mid to late April, especially on days with southerly winds and cloud cover. For raptor enthusiasts and those who cannot make it to Hawk Mountain, daily counts are posted throughout the season at hawkmountain.org/count.

Since 2000, International Conservation Science trainees have assisted in conducting the daily count at the North Lookout, learning migration count techniques from the Sanctuary’s experienced volunteers and staff. 

Those who wish to hike to the North Lookout and enjoy the view and migrating raptors should wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for a walk over rocky terrain. The nearby South Lookout may be preferable to those with small children or with limited mobility and can be reached using a 900-foot-long ADA accessible Silhouette Trail with bench seating. 

Weekend Programs
While visiting the Sanctuary for migration, visitors are welcome to join the spring weekend programs which also begin on the first and are held every Saturday and Sunday throughout the count. Hawk Mountain's signature live raptor program Raptors Up Close! is sponsored by M&T Bank and is held in the ADA-accessible outdoor Amphitheater. The Name That Raptor program, hosted at Laurelwood Niche, teaches birders identifying factors such as a silhouettes, behavior, and markings, and while there, visitors can also learn about the piece of history their feet are planted on, traveling back in time to its founding in 1934 with the History of Hawk Mountain program. International trainees studying long-distance migratory patterns offer discussions of their work and allow hands-on sampling of the tools used in the field during the Trapping & Tracking program located near South Lookout. More information about the programs and when they are held can be found at hawkmountain.org/weekendprograms

On April 22, Hawk Mountain will participate in the 2022 Raptorthon, a fundraiser hosted by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Celebrate Earth Day with Director of Conservation Science Dr. Laurie Goodrich and the Spring Conservation Trainees, helping to scan the skies for returning raptor migrants. Plan to pledge per bird, make a flat donation, or simply join us on the Mountain! Team Hawk Mountain "Counting for Conservation" will be at the North Lookout and South Lookout from 10 to 4 p.m. Stay tuned for more details!