Hawkwatching During a Pandemic

By Brian Wargo

Hawkwatching can be one of the lower-risk activities for the public to enjoy, but hawk watching with others increases the risk of coronavirus transmission. HMANA encourages all hawk watchers to be cautious when interacting with others and adhere to individual hawk sites’ policies. By following these guidelines, we decrease the chances of getting sick or infect others but may increase the likelihood of hawk watch sites opening to the public.

HMANA’s Top Ten Guidelines for Visiting a Hawk Watch in Autumn 2020:

  • 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!
  • Check to see if the hawk watch site is open to the public by visiting their website. We also recommend checking their latest data at HawkCount. Most places 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.
  • If the hawk site is open to the public, please read and follow their rules and regulations.
  • If you feel sick, have a fever, or have been exposed to other sick people, please do not visit the hawk site.
  • 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.
  • When at the site, always wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least six feet from one another. If possible, stay even farther apart as the wind may carry infectious particles greater distances.
  • Counters are being encouraged to isolate themselves from others at hawk watches. Please respect the work of the counter and do not enter their space or touch their equipment.
  • If a visitor section is designated, please stay there and model social distancing.
  • 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.
  • Please err on the side of caution, and thank you for being extra vigilant! 


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