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Counting Migrating Raptors

Every fall, the scenic overlook at Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville provides an ideal vantage point for local birders to track hawk migration through DuPage County.

During the daylight hours of September through mid-November, volunteers set up lawn chairs and spotting scopes at the top of the hill and count hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures as they migrate south for the winter. The data they collect contributes to a North American dataset that helps track raptor population trends.

Greene Valley typically sees large numbers of broad-winged, red-tailed and sharp-shinned hawks and turkey vultures, as well as unusual birds, like golden eagles, Mississippi kites, merlins and peregrine falcons. 

Many birds travel considerable distances, and Greene Valley is only one viewpoint along their journey. Broad-winged hawks, for example, migrate from Canada to Central and South America, where they winter.

Learn more about Hawkwatch and join these dedicated volunteers on weekends in September and October when the Greene Valley Hill is open to the public. For more information on Hawkwatch and the Hawk Migration Association of North America, see www.hmana.org.

Learn more about raptors and other bird species on the Birds page.

Natural Resource Management volunteers monitor birds in preserves through DuPage County. Learn more about this program by visiting the Get Involved - Volunteer page

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