Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Volunteers Needed for New Brunswick's First Hawk Migration Monitoring Project!

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Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 16:27:03 -0300
From: Todd Watts NatureNB
Subject: Hawk Watch fall 2009: Volunteers Needed!

This is a call for volunteers to take part in New Brunswick's first official hawk migration monitoring project! Observations will begin on or about August 24 and run through November 15. Counts will be conducted on all days with weather conditions favorable for hawk movements. Volunteers will receive personal instruction in identification of hawks. Daily counts will number in the tens, hundreds or thousands! We expect to see at least thirteen species of raptors during the count season. An addition six species are possible.

Volunteers will receive in-depth instruction on identifying hawks in flight. This will include identifying hawks by field marks, silhouette and manner of flight. Participants will also learn count protocols and develop an understanding of North American hawk migration. In addition, participants will experience the chance to see raptors up close. Many of the passing hawks stop to rest on or  perch hunt from the many snags that surround the watch site. Some of the birds will also fly in close to harass the decoy owl and to ride the updrafts coming off the mountain. Many others will soar overhead, zip by just over the treetops or slowly drift past at high altitude.

The watch site is located on Greenlaw Mountain, which is just  outside of Saint Andrews. Observations will be made from a vantage  point near the summit where unobstructed views sweep  counterclockwise from the East to the Southwest. A twenty-five minute walk is required to reach this site. Parking will be on  route #127. Directions will be provided. If walking this far is difficult for you but you want to participate, please contact me. I  may be able to provide you with transportation to the site.

 While observing hawks we will have the opportunity to view many other species of birds. Flocks of finches, waterfowl and others  birds will visit or pass our observation point. The watch site has sweeping views of Charlotte County, the Saint Croix Estuary and Down- East Maine.

 Rare sightings will occur. Sightings of Gyrfalcon, Golden Eagle,  Swainson's Hawk, and Mississippi Kite are very possible and will  likely occur at some point during this season or upcoming seasons. Black Vulture is another bird that we can expect to see at some point.

Nature photography can be excellent at a hawk watch. Last year we had close looks at every species of raptor that passed the watch.  This included stunning views of adult Goshawks and Peregrine  Falcons. Having nature photographers on hand can help the watch by  providing possible photo documentation of rare sightings.

Successful hawk watches rely heavily, if not completely, on volunteers. Beginner birders, as well as expert birders, are  encouraged to take part in this watch. If you are an inexperienced  birder your help can be very valuable in spotting birds. And you  will improve your identification skills. Do not let a lack of  experience hold you back from taking part in this project. The help of expert birders and experienced hawk watchers is also needed.  Having more than one experienced birder on site can be very helpful  in making difficult IDs, and in rare sighting confirmations.

Volunteering for the watch can mean visiting the site for a few hours, a day, multiple days or if you have the time, a set day of  every week. It is extremely helpful to have some volunteers that  can visit regularly.

If you are interested in participating, please send me an email  stating your interest and availability. I will then contact you and  provide you with a release form that the landowner requires all  participants to sign.

Starting in late August regular updates on the watch will be posted on NatureNB. Daily totals, as well as, season counts, will be  available on I plan to update our Hawkcount page daily.

Please contact me with any questions and let others know about the watch. I hope to see you on the mountain.

Todd Watts
435 Kerr's Ridge Road
Bocabec, NB E5B 3K8

Photo Credit Mississippi Kite:

1 comment:

  1. Hello, My name is Robbie Gallant. Just wondering how to get involved with the hawk watch?