Ashland Hawk Watch

Each year September – November, daily, 9 am – 4 pm, join our Hawk Watch Coordinator and Hawk Watch Volunteers on Ashland Hawk Watch Hill to help us look for the 20,000 raptors that migrate by in the fall season. All ages welcome.

Ashland Hawk Watch Hill – an Important Bird Area

Ashland Hawk Watch Hill, Ashland Nature Center’s highest hill, is in the center of the Red Clay Audubon Important Bird Area, designated by the National Audubon Society. Begun in 2007, this raptor migration count station operates September through November annually with migrant birds of prey counted daily. Our findings, along with those of over 200 other hawk watch sites across North America, are reported to the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Ashland Hawk Watch Hill is ideally situated to see the daytime migration. Hawk Watch Hill is on the eastern edge of the Piedmont, a chain of rolling hills extending from New York to Alabama. This is a flyway for many of these birds heading south. Come by and enjoy help identifying birds from our full-time hawk watcher and trained volunteers.

Ashland Hawk Watch Hill - Hawk Migration Map

Latest Hawk Watch Stats

View our Ashland Hawkcount page for our current and historic hawk flight data.
View our Ashand Bird Sightings eBird page to see current and historic data on birds observed.
In fall 2022, a total of 20,882 migrant raptors (the average is 12,621) were counted representing 15 species:

  • Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1526 (ave 1583)
  • Cooper’s Hawk: 470 (ave 422)
  • Red-shouldered Hawk: 686 (ave 441)
  • Broad-winged Hawk: 10896 (ave 5235)
  • Red-tailed Hawk: 793 (ave 852)
  • Osprey: 193 (ave 231)
  • Bald Eagle: 711 (ave 417)
  • Northern Harrier: 156 (ave 135)
  • Golden Eagle: 13 (ave 11)
  • American Kestrel: 441 (ave 412)
  • Merlin: 75 (ave 60)
  • Peregrine Falcon: 17 (ave 19)
  • Black Vulture: 435 (ave 642)
  • Turkey Vulture: 4463 (ave 2056)

Raptor Season Migration Times

. . . the best times to visit DelNature Hawk Watch to view your favorite species:

Osprey at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Osprey
September and October. Peaks late September or early October.
Bald Eagle at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Bald Eagle
Consistent September through mid-November. No noticeable peak.
Northern Harrier at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Northern Harrier
Consistent September through November. Slight peak in October.
Sharp-shinned Hawk at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Sharp-shinned Hawk
September through November. Peaks in mid-late October.
Cooper's Hawk at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Cooper’s Hawk
September through early November. Peaks mid-October.
Northern Goshawk at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Northern Goshawk
Low numbers occur late October to mid-November.
Red-shouldered Hawk at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Red-shouldered Hawk
Generally October and November. Peaks in November.
Broad-winged Hawk at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Broad-winged Hawk
Occurs in large numbers during mid-September.
Red-tailed Hawk at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Red-tailed Hawk
October and November. Peaks in November.
Golden Eagle at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Golden Eagle
Small numbers come through late October and early November.
American Kestrel at Ashland Hawk Watch HillAmerican Kestrel
September and October. Peaks in late September.
Merlin at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Merlin
September and October.
Peregrine Falcon at Ashland Hawk Watch HillPeregrine Falcon
September and October. Peaks early October.
Black Vulture at Ashland Hawk Watch Hill Turkey & Black Vulture (shown)
October and November.

Ashland Hawk Watch Fun Facts

  • Common Loons can be seen flying overhead in September and October.
  • Common Nighthawks should be looked for in the late afternoon during the month of September.
  • Delaware Nature Society’s Ashland Nature Center is the only Delaware nesting site for the Sharp-shinned Hawk.
  • Monarch Butterflies migrate past Hawk Watch Hill. On a nice day in September or October, you may see hundreds of them go by.
  • Tree Swallows swarm during October. In the afternoon, sometimes thousands can be seen going past, usually to the southeast.
  • During November, migrant Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and sometimes Tundra Swans can be seen migrating south by the thousands.

Our Hawk Watch is a joint project of:

Delaware Nature SocietyDNREC logoDOS logo

In connection with:
Hawk Count logo

Ashland Hawk Watch landscape map