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

  • Fred Kirn The Detroit River Hawk Watch  lost a valued member of its count team earlier this year with the passing of Fred Kirn. A Livonia resident retired from the Ford Motor Company, for more than 20 seasons Fred devoted hundreds of hours to documenting the awe-inspiring  raptormigration that passes through southeastern Michigan each fall. Fred’s attention to detail, his knowledge of the area’s local birds and his wealth of experience aided the count significantly over the years. His calm and steady demeanor, unpretentious geniality and contagious good nature endeared Fred to those of us fortunate enough to spend long, merry days counting raptors with him along the shore of Lake Erie. He will be missed.    
    Posted Oct 2, 2015, 4:57 PM by Web master
  • Detroit River Hawk Watch runs from Sept. 1st-Nov. 30th The Detroit River Hawk Watch systematically samples the migration of hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures from the Lake Erie Metropark boat launch each day from September 1st through November 30th. The public is always welcome to stop by and learn about what is being seen each day. Each day's report is available at Hawk Count.
    Posted Sep 3, 2013, 5:13 AM by Hawk Watcher
  • Raptor Book review at the Birder's Library Please see Raptor Books - A Comparison of North American Field Guides at the Birder's Library, Book Reviews for Birders and more... for improving your identification skills at the hawk watch.
    Posted Sep 3, 2013, 5:13 AM by Hawk Watcher
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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.