West Glacier, MT – Glacier National Park will host a Mt. Brown Hawk Watch Program on Saturday, October 13 from 12 pm- 4 pm near Lake McDonald Lodge. Park biologists will teach volunteers how to identify and count migrating raptors. The event is part of the park’s Year of the Bird celebration.
Participants should bring binoculars and prepare to count Golden Eagles on their annual migration south past Mount Brown. Biologists, park staff, and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the integral role of raptors in our ecosystems, the risks they face, and why Glacier has started the Mount Brown Hawk Watch Program. The event will begin at the Golden Eagle interpretive sign near Jammer Joe’s parking lot; snacks and hot beverages will be provided. Attendees need not stay for the whole time. Volunteers can also hike to an observation point just below Mount Brown Lookout. People interested in hiking up Mount Brown should call the Glacier Citizen Science Office for hike times and additional details.
Each year in the fall, golden eagles 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. Large numbers of other raptors also use this migration corridor during the fall and spring months.
In the mid-1990s 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 migrating raptor counts. 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
The Year of the Bird marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the important roles birds play in our ecosystems. The National Park Service has joined in with the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, Bird Life International, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and 200 other organizations to celebrate this momentous anniversary. The MBTA has protected billions of birds since its inception. The U.S. and Canada first signed it into law in 1918. In 1936, international governments expanded the MBTA to include Mexico, followed by Japan and the former USSR (1970s).
Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates and the Glacier National Park Conservancy donors provide support for this program. Contact e-mail us or call (406) 888-7986 for more information.