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While you’re exploring in Glacier National Park this fall, look up to the sky for a moment. You might see one or more of the many birds of prey migrating south for the winter. In fact, this migration route is one of the most important for golden eagles in North America. It just so happens to pass right through Glacier along the Continental Divide.

In the mid 1990s, biologists documented nearly 2,000 golden eagles migrating past Mount Brown every year in Glacier. Recent data from outside the park, however, indicate significant declines in their numbers. These declines are due to environmental contaminants, habitat loss, prey declines, and climate change. As top predators, golden eagles and other raptors play an important role in Glacier’s ecological balance.

In order to detect changes in raptor numbers and help in their conservation, Glacier established its Hawk Watch Program in 2017. The program is made possible by support from generous donors like you, the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates, and volunteers from the park’s citizen science program. Keep reading to learn how you can get involved!

Your Support Is Making a Difference

Glacier’s Hawk Watch Program combines the efforts of volunteers and park biologists to count raptors during their annual migration south. Monitoring sites are located near Mount Brown Lookout and Lake McDonald Lodge. Observers contribute to the ongoing study by recording data on raptor type, sex, age, color, and behavior.

Your support ensures observers at monitoring sites have the supplies they need to stay safe and warm on survey days. Funding also ensures park biologists are able to coordinate logistics, train new volunteers, and assure quality control.

Want To Get Involved?

On October 5th, from noon to 4pm, Glacier will kick off its second annual Hawk Watch Program with a volunteer training event. Park biologists will be on hand to teach volunteers how to identify and count migrating raptors. This is also a great time to learn about the important role raptors play in our ecosystems and the risks they face.

The meeting point will be across from Lake McDonald Lodge at the golden eagle interpretive sign near Jammer Joe’s parking lot. Snacks and hot beverages will be provided. Participants should bring their own binoculars. Attendees may come and go as they please and do not need to stay for the whole time.

For more information about the study and October training, email Glacier’s citizen science program at glac_citizen_science@nps.gov or call 406-888-7986.

Learn more about how your donations are making other education programs possible, including expanding citizen science opportunities in Glacier National Park!