Geese fly above in a V formation. (photo © Martha Duffy)


Homeward bound.

Migration Research with the Harris Center

Year after year, countless wildlife embark on miraculous — and perilous — migratory journeys. Whether it's the global migration undertaken by many birds or the more modest travels of local amphibians, Harris Center research projects aim to protect wildlife during this vulnerable period.

A Broad-winged Hawk in flight. (photo © Jen Esten)

Monitoring the Fall Raptor Migration

Every autumn, thousands of hawks, eagles, and other raptors wing through New Hampshire on their way to wintering grounds in South and Central America — a spectacle that is considered one of the great wonders of the natural world. At the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory in Peterborough, Harris Center biologists collect hawk migration data as part of an international effort to monitor raptor population trends.

Discover the Hawk Watch
A view of the Motus receiving station at Granite Lake Headwaters. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)


The international Motus Wildlife Tracking System network has revolutionized the study of winged migration, revealing never-before-seen details about migration routes, timing, flight speed, stopover behavior, and the locations of critical migratory and overwintering habitat for birds, bats, and butterflies — and we’re learning more every day.

Explore Motus
Researchers affix a transmitter to a Broad-winged Hawk. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Broad-winged Hawk Tracking

Through our Broad-winged Hawk tagging partnership with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, biologists have affixed transmitters to five hawks breeding in and around the Harris Center’s SuperSanctuary of protected lands — shedding new light on the life history and migration of this iconic raptor species.

Learn more
An owl bander uses a metal ruler to measure the wing chord of a saw-whet owl. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Saw-whet Owl Banding

Small, secretive, and nocturnal, saw-whet owls are difficult to study. To better understand their fall migration, the Harris Center established a saw-whet banding station on SuperSanctuary lands in 2022 — the only one of its kind in New Hampshire. Banding is one of the best tools we have for monitoring changes in saw-whet populations and migration patterns over time, and for identifying critical migration routes and overwintering habitat.

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A salamander crossing brigadier holds a spotted salamander. (photo © Cheryl Martin)

Salamander Crossing Brigades

On the first warm rainy nights of spring, thousands of amphibians migrate from woods to wetlands in a natural phenomenon known as “Big Night.” It’s a perilous journey, especially when they must cross busy roads to reach their breeding pools. To reduce the risk of roadkill, the Harris Center trains community scientists to serve on Salamander Crossing Brigades at amphibian road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region.

Join the Brigades

Contact Us

For more information on migration research with the Harris Center, please contact Science Director Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 525-3394 or by email.