Hawk Migration Association of America

Hawk Migration Association of North America

Winter Raptor Survey

Critical Research On Wintering Raptors

The HMANA Winter Raptor Survey (WRS) encourages raptor enthusiasts to collect information on wintering diurnal raptors. This protocol is a set of guidelines enabling motor vehicle-based observations to be recorded in a standardized format that is scalable to the observer’s skill, length of survey route, and detail orientation and capability of the surveying party.

The Survey aims to collect and utilize uniform methods, wintering raptor valuable information to researchers, land management and planning agencies, and regional birding organizations. The goal of the program is also to have an enjoyable citizen science experience.

The initial HMANA North American Winter Raptor Survey was undertaken in February 2007, with participants submitting data from northeastern and midwestern locations. Designed by HMANA to get a picture of the status and changing populations of wintering raptors across the continent, the survey format has been set up to enable observers to select areas where diurnal birds of prey can be found submit their findings according to a standardized set of protocols. These data can help researchers determine the distribution of various raptor species during the winter months ranging from late November through early March. The field protocol was revised in 2019 with experienced WRS surveyors and raptor biologists to make the data recording simpler, more practical, and more uniform. The current protocol has been changed to standardize GPS coordinates to approximate raptor sightings in preference to a running vehicle odometer reading.

Birders are invited to participate in this citizen science effort by downloading directions and field data sheets in the WRS Forms section of the HMANA website.

Results will be published in Hawk Migration Studies, the publication of HMANA. Results will eventually be incorporated into HawkCount, the HMANA database of Spring and Fall raptor migration monitoring site observations.

Covid Statement: The committee recognizes this year is different due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We also understand some past participants may not feel comfortable performing their surveys this season. On the other hand, surveying our wintering raptors provides joy to many of us, and we will welcome the findings of those who feel they can safely participate. Your results will be meaningful even with fewer observers. Please make the decision that is best for you.

We appreciate comments and suggestions for improvement of the Survey and the observers’ experience.

The Winter Raptor Survey committee may be contacted by email at wrs@hmana.org.


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