Public invited to participate in Hawk Watch raptor migration count during September and October
Each year Golden Eagles and other raptors migrate from northern breeding grounds to warmer climates. One of the most important North American Golden Eagle migration routes passes directly through Glacier National Park along the Continental Divide. Volunteers can choose specific dates in September and October to hike approximately 4.5 miles up the Mount Brown trail (roughly 4,000 feet in elevation gain) to collect data from 10 AM to 4 PM. The second site near Lake McDonald Lodge is accessible by road and will focus on counts of migrating Golden Eagles starting September 23 from 12 to 4 PM daily.
In the mid-1990’s biologists documented nearly 2,000 Golden Eagles migrating past Mount Brown annually. Recent data from outside Glacier National Park indicate significant declines in Golden Eagle numbers. Due to this concern, the park initiated a Citizen Science Raptor Migration Project in 2011 to investigate possible locations for a Hawk Watch site. Hawk Watch sites are part of an international effort to track long-term raptor population trends using systematic counts of migrating raptors. Observers also record data on sex, age, color morph and behavior of raptors, as well as weather and environmental conditions. To see a map of Hawk Watch sites around the world go to https://www.hawkcount.org/sitesel.php
Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates, the Glacier National Park Conservancy and their donors provide support for this program. Contact GLAC_citizen_science@nps.gov or call (406) 888-7986 for more information or to sign up for a survey.