The Peak of Brockway Mountain, is home to the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch. Overlooking Copper Harbor, it is an exceptional location to view and survey the spring migration of birds of prey aka: raptors, as it provides a fantastic, 360 degree view above Lake Superior and sits along the Central Migration Flyway. It is an important Midwest site, providing vital data contributing to the knowledge of raptor migration in the Lake Superior region.
Monitoring the changes to raptor populations is not only important to the health of the birds, but to the environment as well. Hawks, eagles, falcons, accipiters and other birds of prey are at the top of the food chain. They are sensitive indicators, able to reveal changes in the health of the environment. Fluctuations in populations can indicate changes to the condition of our environment and ecosystem. Keeping tabs on trends can tell us much about possible detriments to our environment such as pollutants, habitat loss, prey animal populations and climate change. A prime example of what migration data analysis provides, is how the dangers of DDT were discovered and positive changes were made; for the birds and our environment.
Data collected from numerous, long term surveys, allows for comprehensive analysis over time. Many sites in the east, like Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, have had formal counts for over 30 years. Our goal is to keep the BMHW active for many years to come, contributing to this knowledge from the Lake Superior region.
A count such as this requires that a professional hawk counter be hired annually, from March 15th to June 15th, to count and categorize 16 species of raptors as well as recording hourly; temperature, barometric readings, wind speed, direction, cloud types and cloud cover. The count is conducted using scientific protocol outlined by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) to which all data is submitted. The data is entered daily on HMANA’s Hawk Count page where it is compiled with other counts across the country to create a real-time database and promote scientific analysis as well as provide journals and seasonal reports. This website gets updated on a regular basis with current conditions and raptor flights as well as photos and comments from our counter.