Where are the best places to watch, count, and photograph fall raptor migration? Find out here.
Northern Harrier. Photo: Scott Dere/Audubon Photography Awards
Have you ever witnessed a “kettle”? No, we aren’t talking about the kitchen appliance. September—October, Broad-winged Hawks and other birds of prey migrate by the thousand in large flocks called “kettles”, soaring on thermals from their breeding grounds to winter habitat thousands of miles away. The best time to look for migrating hawks in astonishing numbers is after a cold front, with a north or northwest wind.
During fall migration, volunteer hawkwatchers count and observe thousands of raptors as they head south for the winter. The data is compiled and recorded to help advance scientific study and research. On a good day with northwest winds, one may see a variety and large number of hawks such as eagles, kestrels, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Ospreys, Broad-winged Hawks, and Peregrine Falcons among others.
Those who participate in hawkwatch are encouraged to submit data to the Hawk Migration Association of America. The numbers help inform conservation action to increase the health of raptor populations.
Get your binoculars ready (or don't, since these large birds can be seen with the naked eye!), and get ready to see some birds of prey.
Braddock Bay Hawkwatch - located in Rochester, NY on the southern shore of Lake Ontario.
Chesnut Ridge Hawk Watch - located in Mt. Kisco, NY. There are hawkwatch staff from Bedford Audubon on site 7 days a week, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.!
Franklin Mountain Hawkwatch - located on the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society Sanctuary overlooking Oneonta, NY.
Hook Mountain State Park - located in Nyack, NY, this hawkwatch site is staffed throughout the fall by Rockland Audubon Society members.
Lenoir Preserve (Mansion) Hawkwatch - located on the border of Yonkers and Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester, this site is on a large field overlooking the Hudson River. Join volunteers from Hudson River Audubon Society: details here.
There are more great viewing sites right next door - click to see what Connecticut has to offer this hawkwatch season!