Keeping a pulse on West Coast raptor populations


Two hawkwatchers scan the west quadrant


2020 Hawkwatch Program Update

GGRO staff and our Park colleagues have been working hard to determine how to best get ready for a COVID-safe 2020 raptor migration season. With reduced staffing and budgets, our banding season was suspended. We have focused our energies on making a COVID-safe hawk count happen, but this count will not be anything like we have seen before.  

We will count in teams of 5 people, just 15 volunteers in total, keeping track of the migration for 3 to 5 days per week, on weekdays only. The count area, where we run the quadrant system, will be blocked with a double-fence during count hours. The area will be closed off so that the team can be safely buffered from members of the public to ensure social distancing is maintained. Counters themselves will keep socially distant, will wear masks, and will not share any hawkwatching equipment with each other.  


During the autumn months, our teams of volunteer hawk counters identify and tally 19 species of birds of prey, working under the leadership of an experienced dayleader.

Hawks are counted systematically using a repeatable method, called the Quadrant System, so that data from different years can be compared. The count results help us look for trends and patterns in hawk populations over time.

You can be a GGRO hawkwatcher! We recruit new hawkwatchers every spring, with trainings beginning in July. Volunteers must be able to commit to one regular day every two weeks between mid-August through early December; all training is provided. Volunteer activities take place in the Marin Headlands. Contact us at ggro@parksconservancy.org to find out more.


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