During the autumn months, the lower Detroit River (MI) becomes a corridor for the passage of migratory birds, and has gained international recognition for the annual volume of birds of prey. Hundreds of thousands of migrating hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures are concentrated at this location where it is possible to systematically count them each year. A standardized monitoring program is conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR) and its friends group, the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance (IWRA) at the Lake Erie Metropark in Gibraltar, MI. Join us at the Boat Launch and witness spectacular flights of Broad-winged Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and both Bald and Golden Eagles! See the Calendar of Hawk Movement below for numbers and types of raptors expected each season.

Calendar of Hawk Movement

Seasonal distributions of raptors through the Detroit River Hawk Watch site between 01 September and 30 November. 
Results based on 3-day running average of count data collected between 1991 - 2008.

(click on image for larger version) 


YouTube Video

Broad-winged Hawk Kettles, 17 Sep 2009 
- courtesy of Mark Wloch

Recent Announcements

  • DRHW Welcomes Back Kevin Georg as their Fall 2018 Counter 21 Jun 2018 - Kevin Georg has accepted an offer to return as this year's Head Counter. Kevin served as our Head Counter last year and was a welcome addition to the Detroit River Hawk Watch family. Welcome back, Kevin!
    Posted Jun 21, 2018, 3:02 PM by Web master
  • 2018 HMANA Conference - Detroit, MI - 12-14 Oct 2018 2018 HMANA Conference - Detroit, MI - 12-14 Oct 2018 posted June 21, 2018, 3:30 PM by Web master Announcing the Hawk Migration Association of North America’s 2018 Conference! Soaring Toward the Future: New Challenges in Raptor Migration October 12-14, 2018 www.hmana.org/conference/detroit Conference Keynote Speakers Kate Davis, author and founder of the nonprofit Raptors of the Rockies, is our opening Keynote speaker. She will talk about her 30 years as a raptor educator at schools throughout the West. Todd Katzner, research biologist, will be our Saturday evening keynote speaker. He will talk about his research with Eastern Golden Eagles and how little was known about their migration ecology. Field trips are planned to the ...
    Posted Jun 21, 2018, 2:59 PM by Web master
  • Welcome New DRIWR Manager  Subject: Detroit River IWR Project Leader selectionI am pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Susan White as the Project Leader for Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Trenton, MI.Ms. White is currently the Monuments Supervisor located in Hawai'i for 4 Marine National Monuments, leading and coordinating management of more than 576 million acres of ocean, islands, and atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Since 2007 she has managed Marine Monuments and Refuges with a focus on conservation of more than 23 million seabirds, vast coral reefs, 26 threatened or endangered species and their habitats, sacred cultural sites, iconic World War II historic resources, as well as supporting the perpetuation of indigenous cultures and traditions. Susan has led a ...
    Posted May 3, 2018, 2:29 PM by Web master
  • 2017 Fall Season Summary The 2017 count was the 35th consecutive season of monitoring diurnal raptor and Turkey Vulture migration at the mouth of the Detroit River, and the 20th year of consistent coverage at Lake Erie Metropark. There were 636.75 hours of data collection with counts conducted on 89 days between 1 September and 30 November1. 72,263 total Turkey Vultures and raptors of 15 species were counted, which includes 1 unknown accipiter, 7 unknown buteos, and 3 unknown raptors. We compare this season’s totals to the respective long-term average (LTA) for each species since 1998. Turkey Vultures (8%), Bald Eagles (34%), Merlin (26%) and Peregrine Falcons (58%) were the only species counted above the LTA. Osprey ...
    Posted Dec 21, 2017, 10:06 AM by Web master
  • 10 Oct 2017 - First Golden Eagle and Swainson's Hawk Kevin and Andrew reported seeing the first Golden Eagle and Swainson's Hawk of the season. Sadly, neither passed close enough for a photo.Congratulations, guys!
    Posted Oct 10, 2017, 2:55 PM by Web master
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 9. View more »

Broad-winged Hawks (Buteo platypterus) concentrate at the lower Detroit River each September after nesting in deciduous or mixed-deciduous forests of Ontario. Tens of thousands of these raptors will pass overhead on their way to wintering areas in South America.  
- photo courtesy of Andrew Sturgess.