BEST PLACES TO SEE HAWKS, OWLS & OTHER RAPTORS
 

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THIS ANIMAL TODAY: current situation and conflicts

Almost all raptors are staging a dramatic comeback after decades of dwindling population from hunting, poaching, habitat loss, environmental poisons such as DDT and PCBs. Red-tailed hawks are now relatively common in places they haven't been seen in generations.

 

Hawks still face many dangers from people. In rural areas they are still shot as pests and threats to livestock. (Red-tails used to be called chicken hawks because that's what they ate.) Many die from collisions with cars and trains. The birds are increasingly moving into suburban and urban areas where they face the risk of ingesting rat poison through their prey and accumulating enough of a dose in their livers to kill them. Still others die from lead poisoning.

VIEWING TIPS

hawkListen for crows, robins or blue jays "mobbing" large birds of prey, trying to scare them out of the area. When you hear a big bird commotion, there may be a big predator among the complaining birds.

 

If an owl starts bobbing its head, you are too close.

BEST PLACES TO SEE HAWKS, OWLS & RAPTORS

 

Click on the region to see its best animal places
U.S. Midwest Northeast Down South Out West Alaska CA FL TX

 

midwest Midwest - See other animals in the Midwest
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Illinois Raptor Center, Decatur, IL

The Illinois Raptor Center helps raptors through educational programs and a wildlife rehabilitation hospital.
In the summer and fall the center has week-long camps for kids, day-long seminars for adults and owl walks.
5695 W Hill Rd, Decatur, IL (217) 963-6909 Map »

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Save Our American Raptors, suburban Chicago
Save Our American Raptors rehabilitates raptors and offers a wide variety of classes and public events.
Their event page lists where they will be appearing, usually in the Chicago area. Their seminars are advanced for aspiring rehabbers and falconers.
Earlville, IL, 815-246-9985
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Red Wolf Sanctuary & Raptor Center, IN
The Red Wolf Sanctuary, started in 1979, now has a lot more than wolves. They have a raptor center with bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, owls, vultures and osprey.
Only one of 14 wolves is a red wolf hybrid; the rest are gray wolves.
The center moved to bigger quarters in Rising Sun.
3027 State Route 262, Rising Sun, IN (812) 438-2306 Map »
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MacBride Nature Recreation Area, IA
The MacBride Raptor Project at the University of Iowa rehabilitates 150-200 birds each year. No open visiting hours, but you can volunteer. They also offer tours at the MacBride Nature area, a fall hawkwatch and banding events.
2093 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, Solon, IA (319) 624-2452 Map »
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Hitchcock Nature Area Hawkwatch, IA
The Hitchcock Nature Area hosts a Hawkwatch each fall from September through December. According to Nebraska Raptor Recovery, volunteers are out each weekend.
September: Turkey Vultures, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Swainson's Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, American Kestrels, and Ospreys.
October through December (the day of and after a cold front are best) Red-tailed Hawks,  Sharp-shinned Hawks, Northern Harriers.
November and December: Bald Eagles Watchers are on the Lodge deck, Badger Hill on the Badger Ridge Trail and the Overlook in bad weather.
27792 Ski Hill Loop Honey Creek, IA (712) 545-3283 Map »
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Seney NWR Harrier, Osprey, Crane MI

The Seney National Wildlife Refuge, near Sault Ste Marie on Michigan's UP, has bald eagles and occasional golden eagles.
You may also see osprey, harrier or Sandhill Crane.
The refuge gives tours to see the elusive, tiny Yellow Rail, which breeds in the area.
13-lined ground squirrels are present, but rare. Black bear and Canadian lynx live here, too. Moose liver here, but you're more likely to see tracks than animals.

1674 Refuge Entrance Rd., Seney, MI 49883, (906) 586-9851

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Whitefish Pt Bird Observatory, MI
The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan just across Lake Superior from Canada, is one of the best birding spots in Michigan.
In January and February the Audubon site gives winter tours that include bald eagles. Other common species are  rough-legged hawk, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, snowy owl and pileated woodpecker.
The Observatory has frequent owl banding events and watches.
16914 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI (906) 492-3596 Map »
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University of Minnesota Raptor Center
The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine treats injured raptors, trains vets and does raptor research. They also have public education programs and keep many non-releasable eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. They treat 800 birds a year. They have a raptor program weekends at 1.
1920 Fitch Ave., St Paul, MN (612) 624-4745 Map »
northeast Northeast - See other animals in the Northeast
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Cornell Raptor Program, NY
Cornell University's Raptor Program teaches vets how to care for raptors and has many public education seminars. There are no open hours but there are some volunteer opportunities.
178 Morrison Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, (607)255-2865
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Berkshire Bird Paradise, NY
Berkshire Bird Paradise is one of the country's biggest bird sanctuaries. More than 2,000 birds (100 species) live here and lots of them are the big ones everyone wants to see: bald and golden eagles; many kinds of large hawks; exotic pheasants; former pet songbirds; barnyard refugees; black swans.  43 Red Pond Road, Petersburgh, NY (518) 279-3801
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Owl, HAWK & BAT Tours in Central Park, NYC
Dr. Robert "Birding Bob" DeCandido, who helped reintroduce the screech owl to Central Park gives regular tours to see screech and saw-whet owls. The tours leave at dusk and visit spots in the North Woods, the Ramble or other places where Birding Bob has a good hunch the owls will be. Sometimes he brings owl recordings so the owls will call out. The tours are entertaining even when you don't get to see owls.
Birding Bob also leads tours to see all the other residents and migrants in the park.
$5 tours leave at 9 am Fridays from the Conservatory Garden and 9 am Sundays from Turtle Pond.
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Pale Male, NYC
Embattled red-tailed hawk Pale Male lives near the top of this luxury building at 74th Street and Fifth Avenue, where owners tried to evict him under a new interpretation of the migratory bird act. A telescope set up in Central Park near the model boat pond gives you a better view. While he's raised many young here, some speculate he may be too old.
927 5th Ave, NYC
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Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pa
The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary sees 20,000 migrating hawks, eagles and falcons between mid-August and mid-December each year. It's one of the best hawk migration spots in the country. They also keep a calendar of when to expect certain species. Bald eagles peak in early September, osprey in late September. There are live bird demonstrations throughout the year.
1700 Hawk Mountain Rd, Kempton, PA (610) 756-6000 map »
south South - See other aninals Down South
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Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Auburn, AL
The Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center started by taking care of six raptors in the 1970s. It's now a regional rehabilitation and research center.
There are no open visiting hours, but the center holds frequent group educational programs at the center or on the road.
The hold live bird demonstrations birds- on Fridays before Auburn University's home football games.
The center is on Wire Road just outside Jordan Parkway.
1350 Raptor Road, Auburn University, AL (334)844-6943
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Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center
Georgia Southern University lets you tour different bird habitats and see demonstrations with Hawks, owls, falcons, eagles and vultures. The Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center  has summer demos weekdays at 1.
In the summer the center is closed on weekends. They take birds off display if it's hotter than 85.
The center no longer does wildlife rehabilitation. For $1,000 you can go on a falconry hunt.
(912) 478-0831
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Carolina Raptor Center, NC
The Carolina Raptor Center, just north of Charlotte, takes in 700 orphaned, injured or ill wild birds a year from the public. Two-thirds of the birds problems are caused by humans. The center houses birds that can't make it in the wild.  These birds teach the public about the treatment of birds. One owl was found thrown out in a dumpster. The offspring of the eagles in the massive aviary are released to help conserve the wild population.
Demonstrations on Saturdays. Closed Sundays. Admission $7.

6000 Sample Road, Huntersville, NC (704) 875-6521 Map »

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West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center
The West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center right now just does educational programs on the road, but is planning to build an educational facility on Bunners Ridge outside Fairmont.
They hold frequent events in the area with live birds and accept volunteers.
(304) 366-2867
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Three Rivers Avian Center, WV
Three Rivers Avian Center in WV gives open houses the first Sat. of each summer month.
They also have many events in the area. They have treated more than 1,300 birds.
Brooks Mountain Rd, Brooks, WV (304) 466-4683 Map »
out west The West - See other animals out West
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Scottsdale Community College Burrowing Owls

For the last decade burrowing owls have made Scottsdale Community College home. They live in drainpipes, especially near the frontage road, adjoining the farmland of the Pima Indian Reservation . Scottsdale, AZ (480) 423-6637

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Idaho Bird Observatory
The Idaho Bird Observatory, just outside Boise, studies and helps conserve western migratory birds. Boise Ridge is one of the few migration hot spots in the west and gets large numbers of hawks, songbirds and owls in the fall.
  The hawkwatch runs from late August until the end of October. This non-profit unit of Boise State University invites visitors to see songbirds mid-July through mid-October. In late September to late October they do owl banding. (208) 426-4354
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World Center For Birds of Prey, Boise, ID
The World Center for Birds of Prey is the public education center for the Peregrine Fund, which works to save many species of birds of prey (not just peregrines). They have programs around the world. They have raised California Condors and Aplomado Falcons in the U.S.
The center has daily visiting hours with hands-on exhibits and a daily falconry history tour.
5668 W Flying Hawk Ln, Boise, ID (208) 362-3716 Map »
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Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene, OR
The Cascades Raptor Center just outside Eugene, OR, is open for visitors six days a week throughout the year (plus Monday holidays), with demonstrations on weekends. Volunteers here rehabilitate 150-200 birds a year. Some that can't make it in the wild become permanent residents and total over 60 birds of 33 species of native birds, from pygmy owls to bald and golden eagles.
32275 Fox Hollow Rd, Eugene, OR (541) 485-1320 Map »
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Hawk & Owl Sanctuary, Spokane, WA

The West Valley Outdoor Learning Center takes in owls and hawks that could never make in the wild. Usually they're missing missing eyes, wings or legs.

8706 E. Upriver Drive, Spokane, WA (509) 340-1028
Alaska Alaska - See other animals in Alaska
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Juneau Raptor Center, AK
The Juneau Raptor Center is a volunteer rehab group. There is no facility to visit, but they do educational programs with non-releasable birds.
2 Marine Way # 206, Juneau, AK (907) 586-8393 Map »

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eagle

Bird Treatment & Learning Center - AK Public Lands Info Center - Anchorage

The Bird Treatment and Learning Center takes in 800 birds a year, including 50 eagles. Director of Avian Care Cindy Palmatier says the eagles fall into three categories: those hurt by toxins, especially when they hang out at the garbage dump; trauma, mainly car collisions and fighting with each other; and starvation. Ironically, the birds can starve after a mild winter because there will be fewer carcasses around.
On summer Saturdays at 2, the birds do an educational program at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, which is at 605 West 4th Avenue (in the old federal building), Anchorage. (907) 644-3661
The rehab center is at  6132 Nielson Way

CA California -- See other animsla in California
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San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Sea & Sage Audubon Society leads field trips in spring to band owls and hawks at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Florida - See other animals in Florida
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Cape Coral Burrowing Owls

Cape Coral, FL, is the capitol of burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia. The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife even has an annual owl festival, map of nesting sites, instructions on how to set up a burrow and etiqutte rules.
Stay back 10-15 feet, more in nesting season Feb-July.

See more locations here.

Texas - See other animals in Texas
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California Raptor Center at Davis
The California Raptor Center, part of UC-Davis' vet school, researches raptors, promotes conservation, rehabilitates about 200 injured raptors each year. They offer public education through field trips to see birds in the wild and school and other group tours of the center. (No public hours)
Plenty of volunteer opportunities.
The Center is off Old Davis Road, south of 80, past the railroad tracks. Take a left at the Y in the road. (530) 752-9994

 

 

 

 

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American Bald Eagle Information
Pale Male
Urban Hawks Blog
Pale Male Irregulars
WildEarth Guardians
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World Wildlife Fund
Audubon Society
Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC
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Owl Box:Birding Blog
NWR with Eagles
USGS Midwinter Eagle Survey
Oldest Eagle Dies June, 2008

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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