The annual spring migration of raptors past Brockway Mountain has long been recognized, but remains little studied. The most detailed study prior to the BMHW was one conducted from 2 April-31 May 1992 by John Peacock (with an average of 6.8 hrs/day on 57 days). During this count he tallied 15,033 eastbound and 7191 westbound raptors of 16 species, for an average of 263.7 raptors per day. The westbound birds, less than half the number of the eastbound, are most likely birds that have already been to the tip of the Keweenaw. An extended raptor survey was necessary to obtain a picture of the long-term pattern of migration, accounting for year to year variability. Data gained from this survey contributes to the knowledge of raptor migration in the Lake Superior region.
The first, formal 3 month survey was named the Keweenaw Raptor Survey which was conducted by the Laughing Whitefish Audubon and Copper Country Audubon. That study ran from 2010 to 2012.
With a strong desire to keep the project going, Copper Harbor Birding and Copper Country Audubon partnered to run the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch. That study ran from 2013 to 2015.
In order to continue the count long term and give it stability, the decision to create a nonprofit corporation for the BMHW was made. The board of directors then acquired exempt status under section 501(c)(3). This allows for tax exemption as well as the ability to accept tax deductible donations.
The goal is to keep the survey going over many consecutive years in order to obtain the long-term data necessary for comprehensive analysis.