Data Policies

Submission PolicyData Release PolicyData Release Request

The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) maintains a library of Raptor Migration Data that has been collected by many individuals, hawk watches, organizations and agencies (collectively “hawk watches). Submission of raptor migration data to HMANA is made by hawk watches in agreement with, and controlled by, this HMANA Data Submission Policy. Hawk watches retain ownership of their raptor migration data and give permission to HMANA to redistribute their raptor migration data to qualified users who conform to the HMANA Data Release Policy.

The HMANA Data Release Policy describes the full set of requirements placed on data users as a condition of their use of HMANA supplied data. Key points of the Data Release Policy include adherence to ethical behaviors, appropriate citations, thresholds for co-authorship, and adherence to appropriate scientific principles and peer review. All users of HMANA supplied data must seek and receive permission from HMANA. As a service to the prospective user and to the hawk watches, HMANA will facilitate the process and obtain permissions from the hawk watches when various thresholds are reached in accordance with this Data Submission Policy. HMANA will provide data to the researcher after permissions have been obtained.

HMANA recognizes that hawk watches want to exercise varying levels of control on the distribution and release of the raptor migration data they provide to HMANA. Therefore, HMANA provides a flexible data release policy, which may be administered by the hawk watch through set-up options in HawkCount. Three general categories of oversight are provided to allow each hawk watch to individually manage data release permissions:

  • Category 1: No permissions will be sought by HMANA, regardless of the volume or type of data being used. In effect, this option enables the hawk watch to delegate the responsibility of data stewardship to HMANA, allowing HMANA to give permissions directly to the requestor without contacting the hawk watch. Hawk watches will be notified of all requests to use their data. Researchers will be required to acknowledge all hawk watches whose data are used in their publications.
  • Category 2: Permission for data release from the hawk watch will be sought by HMANA if 20% or more of data used by the requestor, as measured in count days, is derived from that hawk watch. For awareness and feedback, hawk watches will be notified of all requests to use their data. Researchers will be required to acknowledge all hawk watches whose data are used in their publications.
  • Category 3: Permission for data release from a hawk watch will be sought by HMANA if the requestor will use any data from that hawk watch. Researchers will be required to acknowledge all hawk watches whose data are used in their publications, as well as conform to any other conditions specified by the administrator of that hawk watch.

Additionally, for those hawk watches that select the no-view option as part of their site setup, public data access is password protected and data cannot be viewed on HawkCount. Individuals who wish to view data from these hawk watches must seek permission through HMANA from the administrator of the hawk watch, whereupon HMANA will provide access to the data with permission from the site administrator.

Hawk watches are asked to maintain the correctness of their email, telephone, postal and other contact information in HawkCount. This allows HMANA to notify the administrator of the hawk watch when requests for data release are received, to seek permissions when necessary, and for other important communications about HawkCount and HMANA. If HMANA cannot reach a hawk watch by email, diligent efforts will be made to reach the hawk watch through other means. Ultimately, however, if the hawk watch cannot be contacted, this process will result in HMANA assuming stewardship of these raptor migration data in perpetuity or until contact with the hawk watch is re-established.

Unless explicitly restricted by the site administrator in HawkCount, HMANA will make available to the requestor the contact information of the site administrator for each hawk watch whose data will be used by that requestor. This is important to allow prospective data users to learn more about these data, methodologies and site dynamics directly from the hawk watches themselves, and to seek co-authorship from the hawk watches.

Privacy Statement: Other data collected in the HawkCount database are names and contact information of site administrators, observers, other contributors, and email forwarding lists. These data are privately held by HMANA and are not viewable at HawkCount. HMANA will not redistribute or otherwise supply personal contact information to any third party without permission.

It is expected that this Data Submission Policy is sufficiently broad to cover the varying requirements of all hawk watches, however, if other unanticipated requirements are needed, please contact HMANA directly. Definitions of key terms may be found in the attached Glossary. Your questions and comments regarding the Data Submission Policy may be submitted to The HMANA Data Curator via email to

Since 1974, HMANA has maintained an archive of raptor migration counts, contributed by more than 1800 spring and autumn hawk watches across the Americas (see Raptor Migration Data). The use of data maintained by HMANA is strongly encouraged. Indeed, hawk watches 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 hawk watches may restrict public viewing of their data, in which case permission to view data can be sought through submission of a HMANA data release request. Regardless of viewing status, all users of hawk count data, especially anyone having an interest in publication or reproduction of raptor migration count data, or analysis of these data, must always seek and receive explicit written permission for use of these data.

Over the decades, these hawk watches 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 by outside researchers while preserving the rights of individual hawk watch sites. Requests for data may be made via the Data Release Request form and submitted to the HMANA Data Curator via email to

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 HMANA would appreciate receiving a copy of the permission agreement.

HMANA is a non-profit (501-C3) 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 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 hawk watch to offer co-authorship on publications to the designated representative of that hawk watch as recommended by the site coordinator. It is the responsibility of 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 hawk count data provided by HMANA are required to acknowledge the hawk watch 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 ____, and provided by the Hawk Migration Association of North America ( through its online HawkCount database (

Hawk watch sites also may require certain acknowledgements, for example, recognize 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 the Hawk Migration Studies, or sharing key findings with HMANA members for use in HMANA e-newsletter.  Information on sharing your findings can be obtained from the HMANA Editor, (email address).

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