During the fall migration season, NH Audubon welcomes visitors to raptor observatories at Carter Hill Orchard in Concord and Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park in Peterborough. As thousands of raptors pass overhead, NH Audubon staff tally birds as part of an international effort to monitor raptor population trends in the Americas. Thousands of visitors – including hundreds of students from across the region – come to the observatories to learn about raptor identification, and to experience the spectacle of raptor migration.
What Are Migratory Raptors?
The group of birds known as diurnal raptors are birds of prey that are sometimes referred to simply as “hawks.” They include eagles, falcons, ospreys, vultures, kites and harriers as well as hawks. They range in size from the diminutive American kestrel (not much bigger than a robin) to the massive bald eagle with a wingspan of more than six and a half feet. We regularly observe and count 14 species at NH Audubon’s Raptor Observatories.
Why Study Raptors?
Raptors are particularly sensitive indicators of environmental health and change because they inhabit most ecosystem types, occupy large home ranges, feed at the top of the food pyramid, and are highly sensitive to chemical contamination and other forms of human-caused disturbance. Spring and fall are the ideal times to collect data on raptors because they congregate during migration along coastlines, prominent mountain ridges and river valleys making it easy to tally them. Conducting standardized long-term counts of migrating raptors can help us learn about their migration patterns, behaviors and populations.
Follow Our Season Counts on HawkCount!
Daily count reports with highlights are posted online at the end of each day throughout the fall at www.hawkcount.org, an online database managed by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Once you have reached the site, select “Day Summaries” or “Month Summaries” and select the site you wish. Here you may read about season totals, record counts and average timing per species. You can also find additional information and photos by clicking on “Site Profiles. Navigating to different sites can also be done by clicking on “Find a Hawkwatch” where you may choose sites by state.
To volunteer or support the raptor observatories in either Concord or Peterborough, contact Phil Brown, Director of Land Management, at (603) 224-9909×334 or at email@example.com.
If you are planning to bring a school group to Pack Monadnock, please notify both NH Audubon and Miller State Park (603-924-3672) in advance.
Carter Hill Raptor Observatory
The Carter Hill Raptor Observatory, founded in 2008, is located at the Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, NH (www.carterhillapples.com). It is staffed with NH Audubon naturalists or volunteers from September 1 through October 31, weather dependent.
Annual Raptor Observatory Reports
Visit Google Maps to see the location of Cater Hill Orchard and get directions.
Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory
The Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, founded in 2005, is located near the summit of Pack Monadnock in Miller State Park in Peterborough, NH. It is staffed with NH Audubon naturalists or volunteers from September 1 through October 31 from 9am to 5pm – weather dependent. Over 10,000 raptors have been counted in a single season here.
Annual Raptor Observatory Reports
Visit Google Maps for directions to Pack Monadnock and Miller State Park.
Support our Observatories
Visit our online donation form to support our Raptor Observatory.
or mail your donation to:
84 Silk Farm Rd.
Concord, NH 03301-8301
Add a note or write on the check that your gift is for Raptor Observatory support.