The Detroit River runs from Lake St. Clair in the north to Lake Erie in the south, forming part of the border between Michigan in the United States and Ontario in Canada. During the autumn months, the lower Detroit River 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 - the Detroit River Hawk Watch - 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.
DRHW Releases Summary of 2018 Hawk Watch
Detroit River Hawk Watch has completed its report of the 2018 hawk watch season. The 25-page summary documents the 36th consecutive season of monitoring raptor and turkey vulture migration at the mouth of the Detroit River between 1 September and 30 November, 2018. The narrative includes highlights of each month and of species observed.
Posted April 4, 2019, 3:30 PM by Webmaster
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 November.
Posted Dec 21, 2017, 1:06 PM by Webmaster
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 image to enlarge.
Broad-winged Hawk Kettles, 17 Sep 2009
- courtesy of Mark Wloch
The US Fish & Wildlife Service announced 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. Read more here.
Posted May 3, 2018, 5:29 PM by Webmaster
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, 5:55 PM by Webmaster
Broad-winged Hawks, Detroit River Hawk Watch, Sept. 17, 2009
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. Click image to enlarge.