Wednesday, October 7, 2015

1.3 Million Hawks and Counting.....

Militia Hill Hawk Watch displaying its banner during IHMW.
Photo by Rich Conroy.
Congratulations to the 102 watchsites from Ontario to Mexico that counted over 1 million raptors during HMANA’s 2nd annual International Hawk Migration Week (IHMW) September 19-27, 2015. 

Thirty-one states and provinces counted thirty species of raptors, the vast majority being Broad-winged Hawks (1,304,132) - since IHMW took place during their peak migration. Other high counts included 23,244 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 6,659 Turkey Vultures, 6,182 Mississippi Kites, 5,696 American Kestrels and 3,661 Osprey.
Graham Scarborough, Eli Gross and Dave Youker
at Kiptopeke, VA. Photo by Brian Taber.
 HMANA started IHMW in 2014 as a way to celebrate raptor migration. We wanted to shine a light on the incredible spectacle that takes place each fall and highlight all the watchsites in the HawkCount monitoring network. 
Jerry Ligouri raptor talk, Celebration of Flight,
Corpus Christi, TX. Photo by Patty Waits Beasley
It’s the perfect opportunity to connect people with the cycle of migration. I think many of my fellow hawk watchers would agree that one of the great joys is introducing someone to a big flight or low-flying peregrine for the first time. It gives my goose bumps to see the excitement in their eyes. Recently during a spectacular flight of broad-wings at my local watchsite, I heard a man say, “Wow, I feel like a better person having witnessed this.”

So the goal of IHMW is to share these experiences with others. And I think we were successful in that. In addition to submitting daily counts to, sites celebrated across the map with various hawk watching festivals, identification workshops and live bird of prey events. Some celebrations included a handful of people on remote mountaintops while other events drew thousands to multi-day festivals but no matter the size, it all revolved around the love of raptors and the pure joy of migration.

For more information about IHMW, please visit 

Hawk watchers at Wellsville Hawk Watch, UT. Photo by Neil Paprocki

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