News - Detroit River Hawk Watch

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Announcing the Hawk Migration Association of North America’s 2018 Conference!
"Soaring Toward the Future: New Challenges in Raptor Migration,"
October 12-14, 2018,
Detroit, MI
Visit for more details

The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) is actively seeking program proposals for our 15th conference, “Soaring Toward the Future: New Challenges in Raptor Migration,” especially on these topics of special interest, including:

Raptor population treads
Possible shifts in migration patterns: routes and timing
Raptor telemetry and technological advances
Conservation issues and threats facing raptors
Education initiatives, including young hawkwatchers
Challenges to sustaining and maintaining hawkwatch sites
Weather patterns and migration in a changing climate
Advances in raptor identification in the field
Raptor photography

Conference Keynote Speakers: Kate Davis, author and founder of the nonprofit Raptors of the Rockies, is our opening Keynote speaker. She will talk about her 30 years as a raptor educator at schools throughout the West. Todd Katzner, research biologist, will be our Saturday evening keynote speaker. He will talk about his research with Eastern Golden Eagles and how little was known about their migration ecology.

Field trips are planned to the Detroit River Hawkwatch, Holiday Beach Bird Observatory, Marshlands Museum, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge visitor’s centre, and more! Final program and registration details will be available soon on

Key Dates: The deadline to submit a proposal is June 1st. You will be notified by June 11,2018 if your proposal is chosen.

Submission Requirements: In no more than 150 words, please summarize and describe your presentation and indicate how it fits within the topics of special interested noted above. If your proposal covers topics other than these, please describe why you think it should be selected. If selected, this description will be included in the conference program. Please describe the technical or audio/visual needs for your presentation as well as its proposed length. We anticipate that most presentations will brought to conference on flash drives that will be loaded onto a PC laptop.
Send your submission or direct any questions to For all general inquiries, please contact

HMANA’s Mission
Since 1974 HMANA has promoted and studied migratory patterns and behaviour of diurnal birds of prey. HMANA has set the standard for recording species data;, a robust raptor monitoring database, and partnered in analyzing count data to interpret raptor population treads with the Raptor Population Index (RPI). Now our network of over 200 hawkwatches across North America is more timely than ever before as field birders, research scientists, banders and the hawkwatching public face serious challenges to our work from urbanization, climate and migratory changes and lack of nature awareness. Please visit to learn more about our work, and we hope you will join us in Detroit in October.

Welcome to new DRIWR Manager
Migration trend analysis graphsThe US Fish & Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Susan White as the Project Leader for Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Trenton, MI.

Ms. White is currently the Monuments Supervisor located in Hawai'i for 4 Marine National Monuments, leading and coordinating management of more than 576 million acres of ocean, islands, and atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Since 2007 she has managed Marine Monuments and Refuges with a focus on conservation of more than 23 million seabirds, vast coral reefs, 26 threatened or endangered species and their habitats, sacred cultural sites, iconic World War II historic resources, as well as supporting the perpetuation of indigenous cultures and traditions. Susan has led a team that coordinates with interagency, international, and traditional indigenous partners for conservation of some of the largest protected areas in the world.

2017 Fall Season Summary
Golden eagleThe 2017 count was the 35th consecutive season of monitoring diurnal raptor and Turkey Vulture migration at the mouth of the Detroit River, and the 20th year of
consistent coverage at Lake Erie Metropark. There were 636.75 hours of data collection with counts conducted on 89 days between 1 September and 30 November. 72,263 total Turkey Vultures and raptors of 15 species were counted, which includes 1 unknown accipiter, 7 unknown buteos, and 3 unknown raptors. We compare this season’s totals to the respective long-term average (LTA) for each species since 1998. Turkey Vultures (8%), Bald Eagles (34%), Merlin (26%) and Peregrine Falcons (58%) were the only species counted above the LTA. Osprey (-73%), Northern Harrier (-30%), Sharp-shinned Hawk (-33%), Cooper’s Hawk (-75%) Northern Goshawk (-90%), Red-shouldered Hawk (-44%), Broad-winged Hawk (-84%), Swainson’s Hawk (-52%), Red-tailed Hawk (-46%), American Kestrel (-40%) and total numbers (-43%) were significantly lower than the LTA (where values >15% are considered “significant” for the count). Rough-legged Hawk (-4%) and Golden Eagle (-5%) numbers were insignificantly lower than the LTA. Two Northern Goshawks and two Swainson’s Hawks were counted this year.

The complete report can be read here.

A New Season Begins! - 1 September, 2017
Mark Hainen captured this juvenile Cooper's Hawk as it passed over the site as one of the first raptors to be documented during the start of the 35th Detroit River Hawk Watch, which started today, 01 Sep 2017.
Juvenile Cooper's hawk
Kevin Georg will act as the season's Primary Counter. He comes to DRWH with over 3 decades worth of hawk-watching experience. Welcome, Kevin!

2017 Fall Raptor Counter Needed (September 1 to November 30, 2017)

Detroit River Hawk Watch logoFall 2017 Raptor Counter Needed to continue raptor migration monitoring for the Detroit River Hawk Watch. Annual raptor monitoring began in 1983 and documents one of the most significant fall raptor migrations in North America.
Our hawk watch site has spectacular annual flights of broad-winged hawks, golden eagles, and all eastern raptors, including reliable passages of Swainson's Hawk. During the month of September we can expect upwards of 10,000 to 100,000 Broad-winged Hawks, alone! There have only been seven primary counters since 1998 and most return for multiple seasons. We seek individuals who enjoy working with volunteer counters and communicating with visitors. Applicants must have some initial field biological experience and extremely high personal interest in raptor migration. Good writing skills are essential for daily and end-of-season summary reports. Counters will be expected to follow the official DRHW Protocol.
We are very willing to work with student schedules and contract on a part-time basis ensuring the entire season is covered. Contract will be through the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance, which is a non-profit (501c3) organization furthering the mission of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Please contact: STEVE DUSHANE, Refuge Manager, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. E-mail: (PH: 734-692-7604 or 734-341-8893),  9311 Groh Road, Grosse Ile, MI 48138.
Deadline for Application is August 1, 2017.
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