By Brian Wargo
Hawkwatching has the potential to be one of the lower-risk activities for the public to enjoy but hawkwatching with others increases the risk of coronavirus transmission. HMANA encourages all hawkwatchers to be cautious when interacting with others and to adhere to all policies of individual hawk sites. By following these guidelines we not only decrease the chances of getting sick or infecting others, but may increase the likelihood of hawkwatch sites opening to the public.
HMANA’s Top Ten Guidelines for Visiting a Hawk Watch in Autumn 2020
1) Before traveling to a hawk watch, check the state and county policies for travel restrictions. If the guidelines recommend staying at home, then please do so!
2) Check to see if the hawkwatch site is open to the public by visiting their website. We also recommend checking their latest data at HawkCount.org. Most sites will have a statement in the Visitors dialog box. Remember, that while the hawk site may be counting hawks, they may not be open to the public.
3) If the hawk site is open to the public, please read and follow their rules and regulations.
4) If you feel sick, have a fever, or have been exposed to other people that are sick, then please do not visit the hawk site.
5) While the probability of dogs transmitting the virus is currently thought to be low, consider leaving your pet at home. If you do take them, please keep your dog leashed and away from others.
6) When at the site, always wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least six feet from one another, and if possible, stay even farther apart as wind may carry infectious particles greater distances.
7) Counters are being encouraged to isolate themselves from others at hawkwatches. Please respect the work of the counter and do not enter their space or touch their equipment.
8) If a visitor section is designated, please stay there and model social distancing.
9) If using the portable sanitation facility, please use disinfecting wipes on the door handles after you leave. Also use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
10) Please err on the side of caution and thank you for being extra vigilant!