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.
Detroit Planet article documents contributions of citizen scientsts to DRHW and other efforts
A recent article in Planet Detroit quoted Detroit River IWR wildlife biologist Jessica Fletcher in a report about citizen scientists in the Detroit Metro area. She highlighted the efforts of the volunteers to the Detroit River Hawk Watch. Read more here!
Posted June 13, 2020, 11:00 AM by Webmaster
DRHW Releases Summary of 2019 Hawk Watch
Detroit River Hawk Watch has released its summary of its 2019 observations. The 2019 count was the 37th consecutive season of monitoring diurnal raptor and turkey vulture migration at the mouth of the Detroit River, and the 22nd year of consistent coverage at Lake Erie Metropark. There were 562 hours of data collection with counts conducted on 89 days between 01 September and 30 November. The narrative includes highlights of each month and of species observed.
Posted Jan. 28, 2020, 8:29 PM by Webmaster
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
DRHW Binoculars Raffle Winner!
Congratulations to Sheylan Kaslo, who was the lucky winner of a pair of Nikon Monarch HG 10x40 Binocular that were raffled off during HawkFest 2019. The raffle netted $3070 for the Detroit River Hawk Watch! Click here for more!
Posted Jan. 28, 2020, 8:30 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
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
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.