Each fall thousands of hawks, eagles, and falcons fly along a high ridge above Lake Chelan on their way to winter territories. Join Wenatchee River Institute for a field trip to the Chelan Ridge Hawkwatch International (HWI) observation point to witness this amazing spectacle. Chelan Ridge HWI is located in the USFS Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Learn about raptor biology and hone your identification skills by assisting researchers as they count passing hawks!
During the excursion, you will hear from local biologists about the why of these migrations, as well as the how it all relates to habitat and land management. While visiting the field station, biologists will be working the trapping blind providing for a rare, close-up opportunity to witness a live bird capture, banding, and release. Participants will also gather data in an effort to glean information about the health of North America’s raptor populations.
After exploratory surveys in 1997 at Chelan Ridge HawkWatch, in partnership with the USFS Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in 1998 HWI began annual counts at the Chelan Ridge site. These counts helped to monitor the raptors and learn more about their migration through the East Cascades of Washington State within the Pacific Coast Flyway. HWI has been banding raptors at Chelan Ridge since 2001, while also using the site to conduct satellite-tracking research.
Each season, counts typically range between 2,000-3,000 migrating birds of up to 17 species. The most commonly seen species are the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Harrier, Golden Eagle, and American Kestrel.
Field Trip Cost: WRI-Members $45, Non-Member $60, with WRI Otter Van transportation included. Participants will leave from the Wenatchee River Institute campus in Leavenworth at 8am, or from the Penny Road Park & Ride in Wenatchee at 8:45am. Please pack a lunch, snacks and water, and be prepared to hike for 30 minutes at approximately 6000 feet elevation. Be prepared for possible windy and cold weather.
Photo courtesy Chelan Ridge