Hawk Watches

Red-shouldered Hawk, from “The hawks and owls of the United States in their relation to agriculture” (1893), Cornell University Library

During fall migration, volunteer hawk watchers 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. —New York Audubon Society

Bear Mountain, Rockland/Orange County: Follow Perkins Memorial Drive to the top of Bear Mountain. Pass through the summit parking area (one-way) and follow the road as if to descend the mountain; just as you head down (before reaching two-way traffic), take a right turn (at the brown sign that says “Scenic View”) and follow the dead-end road approximately 1/2 mile to the overlook. Drive slowly because the road is full of potholes, some of which are deep!

Bear Mountain may not see counts as high as those at other hawk watches, but the birds tend to be closer, allowing for better views—and there’s always something to see on the Hudson River when the birds aren’t cooperating. More information is available here.

View from the Bear Mountain hawk watch

Chestnut Ridge, Westchester County: Located in the southern foothills of the Taconic Mountains, this hawk watch is active from mid-August to late November. More information, including directions, is available here.

Franklin Mountain, Oneonta, New York: The Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch, located on the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society Sanctuary, is noted for late fall season flights of Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles. In addition to the hawk watch, the sanctuary has marked hiking trails through a variety of habitats.

Hook Mountain, Rockland County: More information, including directions, is available here.

Bald Eagles, from “National Geographic,” Cornell University Library

Mount Peter, Orange County: The Mount Peter Hawk Watch is just off Route 17A between Greenwood Lake and Warwick. Take the NYS Thruway (87) to the Harriman exit. After the tolls, head south on Route 17 to 17A, turn right on 17A and head west for 9.4 miles, and then turn right onto Kain Road; the parking area is on the right. More information is available here.

State Line, New Jersey (State Line Lookout on the Palisades Parkway): Active from September through early November. More information, including directions, is available here.

For additional information, visit Audubon New York’s hawk watch page and the website of the Hawk Migration Association of North America.