Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Is your watchsite one of those fortunate enough to always have multiple observers? Do you also have a designated "education" person? And maybe you have a weather station and one of more kiosks or signs with information about hawk migration, identification. Do you know how lucky you are? Did you realize you are envied?

Here at the 40-year-old New Hampshire site, little Roundtop, we have one person who wears many hats, only occasional helpers, no weather station and no signs. However, we DO have "tree-osks!"

A tree-osk is Little Roundtop’s substitute for a kiosk. Three trees at the site serve this purpose. Bungee cords wrapped around the trunks hold weather instruments (thermometer and wind meter) and a current conditions weather radar map, details of the previous day’s and current season’s sightings, a brochure holder with HMANA membership flyers, and another with "Hawk Watching FAQ’s" that answers the questions we always get from visitors. We also have mini-posters with the previous year’s sightings and the 25-year averages, high and low counts and a daily sighting board.

The system works pretty well, however, everything must be carried up the trail, deployed each morning and then taken down each afternoon. Visitors love our "tree-osks," but those of you that have more formal arrangements, be assured that you are indeed envied.


  1. Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch has a proper watch platform complete with bleacher seating. We have information kiosks on hawk migration mounted to the rear of the platform, but these were vandalized during our "sabbatical" a few years ago. For this reason, we continue to use hand-held weather instruments we can take home with us at the end of the day rather than risk damage or theft. It’s probably not a unique problem, but it has made us think twice about investing in permanently installed weather instrumentation and new kiosks.

  2. We have given thought to seeing if some agency would let us have a lockable "bear box," the kind you sometimes see in campgrounds in the west. We think if such a thing can thwart bears, it could also thwart vandals. It certainly would make life easier if we had some way we could leave equipment on site during the watch period. We know of a site that does have a lockable facility beneath their platform where equipment, including a spotting scope and tripod, collapsable chairs, and field guides are kept.

  3. I think your idea of a lock box is excellent. I carry ~30 lbs. of stuff (inc. my scope, several field books, and other paraphernalia) up to the watch platform each day I count. It's not a long walk, but certainly it would be nice to keep stacks of literature and the large marker board up at the site rather than have to carry it all down at the end of the day. Even having an extra binocular or scope on-site would be a nice bonus for an interested party who arrives unprepared. The possibilities. . .