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HMANA Data Policies

HMANA encourages hawkwatchers to support ongoing, established watchsites with their volunteer hours and assistance whenever possible.  Consistent annual coverage at established sites is essential to statistically valid trend assessment, a cornerstone of HMANA’s raptor conservation efforts.

HMANA also encourages exploration of new flyways or sites in areas not well covered by established watchsites such as central, southern, and western United States as well as Canada, Mexico, and Central America. New HMANA or HawkCount sites should be established in distinct locations and apart from other existing watchsites in the HMANA network. Care should be taken to obtain permission from landowners to avoid need to move sites over time.

All proposed locations of new sites should be compared to existing watchsites within the HawkCount.org network (see Find a HawkWatch). If a site is within several miles of an existing site, HMANA asks that site compilers from the nearby watchsite be consulted to avoid conflicts and to avoid using alternate count sites for that site. Moreover, HMANA may choose not to archive the new site data in HawkCount as the data collected from the two sites could overlap substantially. With the nearby site permission, data could be archived in HawkCount.org but kept from public view to avoid confusion.

To check if your site is a possible new site, fill out the new account request form online, with latitude and longitude of the proposed location.  The HMANA data committee will review all new site requests and respond in a timely fashion.

Once a site is approved, the HawkCount.org database manager will contact the proposed site leader to finalize site set-up. Hawkwatch count data may be entered online at http://hawkcount.org/, HMANA’s hawkwatch count database. Hourly and/or daily count totals can be entered online via the web site or submitted as .xls spreadsheets.

If your watchsite is already active at hawkcount.org, consult your watchsite or project leader for access.

To establish new site access, please submit the New Account Request at hawkcount.org

Since 1974, HMANA has maintained an archive of raptor migration counts, contributed by more than 1,800 spring and autumn hawkwatches across the Americas (see Raptor Migration Data at http://www.rpi-project.org/2016/). The use of data maintained by HMANA is strongly encouraged. Hawkwatch sites collect and provide their data to the HMANA data archives because they want it used by qualified users for purposes of raptor research, monitoring, conservation, and education.

Most data archived by HMANA can be viewed freely on HawkCount. However, some hawkwatches restrict public viewing of their data, in which case permission to view data can be sought through the submission of a HMANA data release request form. Regardless of viewing status, all users of HawkCount data, especially anyone having an interest in the analysis of these data, interpretation of hawk count data, publication, or reproduction of raptor migration count data, must always seek and receive explicit written permission for use of these data.

Over the decades, these hawkwatches have gathered data at significant cost and effort, and have proprietary ownership interests in the data they have produced. As a service to the users, researchers, and sites, HMANA has developed a system to facilitate the use of these data while preserving the rights of individual hawkwatch sites. Requests for data may be made via the data release request form and submitted to the HMANA data curator (via the submission link on the form or via email to data@hmana.org).

Due to limited resources, HMANA will not contact sites on behalf of for-profit commercial enterprises or in cases when data are to be used for a commercial project. We encourage businesses with an interest in these data to contact the site coordinator for each site. Site contact information is made available within each site profile.  It is up to the commercial user to obtain explicit permission from the hawkwatch(es) to use their data and to provide HMANA with a copy of the permission agreement.

HMANA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is dependent on outside contributions. Any users of these data are encouraged to become members of HMANA or make financial contributions to HMANA. Because HMANA has limited staff, requests for HMANA data that require substantial time by HMANA staff may require remuneration of effort on a case-by-case basis. Potential users of these data are encouraged to discuss such issues early in the process of requesting data.  

Unless waived by the specific HawkCount site coordinator, HMANA requires any user or researcher who uses greater than 20% of these data (as measured by number of count days) from a single hawkwatch site to offer co-authorship on publications to the designated representative of that hawkwatch as recommended by the site coordinator. It is the responsibility of the data user or researcher to resolve co-authorship status before any publication occurs. Because site protocols can vary among sites, HMANA encourages all researchers/users to have the site coordinator review their results prior to publication to assist with interpretation.

All users of HawkCount data provided by HMANA are required to acknowledge the hawkwatch sites that have contributed data to the study, as well as HMANA and HawkCount, as follows:

Data in this publication were collected by (watchsite1), (watchsite2), and (other source/s), and provided by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (www.hmana.org) through its online HawkCount database (www.hawkcount.org).

Hawkwatch sites also may require certain acknowledgement, for example, recognizing key funders or supporters of their projects. The site coordinator should be contacted by the data user before publication to obtain the list of additional individuals and organizations that should be acknowledged in any public use of their data.

Generally, data archived by HMANA is available in electronic form. In the case of data archived in paper form, the cost of copying of data forms may be passed on to the researcher. Data released to the user or researcher is to be used only for the purpose(s) described in the Data Release Request. Data may not be released or redistributed to any individual or organization other than those described in the Data Release Request.

Results of projects using or analyzing HMANA count data are of great interest to the HMANA membership. Researchers are encouraged to share their results or a summary of their project with the HMANA membership by writing a general interest article for the HMANA journal, Hawk Migration Studies, or sharing key findings with HMANA members for use in HMANA e-newsletters. Information on sharing findings can be obtained from the Hawk Migration Studies editor (info@hmana.org).

HMANA is committed to actively promoting professional courtesy, scientific integrity, and ethical standards in the use of raptor migration data that it maintains. For additional information, see Ethical Standards.  Definitions of key terms may be found in the attached Glossary. Questions regarding the data or this Data Release Policy may be submitted to the HMANA data curator via email to data@hmana.org.


You can request a release of data from HMANA by simply completing our data request form.

The Hawk Migration Association of North America encourages the use of tablet entry devices for hawk migration data collection. These apps allow for seamless integration of raw data into the HawkCount system in real time, thereby eliminating the need to reenter data online at the end of the day. HMANA is an unbiased advocate for the two best known systems, Dunkadoo and Trektellen, and encourages individual hawkwatch sites to give each system consideration. Ultimately, it is up to individual hawkwatch sites to decide on what data entry system is best for them or if manual entering the data remains the best option.