COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center building will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our trails and grounds remain open.
Announcing A New Partnership with New Hampshire Audubon
The fall hawk migration is one of the great natural wonders of the world, and we are fortunate to have one of New England’s premier locations for watching the migration right here in our backyard: the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory, now entering its 14th consecutive year of hawk migration data collection near the summit of Pack Monadnock in Miller State Park in Peterborough. The Observatory not only provides valuable, long-term data on fall-migrating raptors, it also reaches thousands of people annually through both casual and formal learning opportunities.
We’re delighted to announce that the Harris Center and New Hampshire Audubon have entered into a new partnership to provide research and education staff for this local treasure.
Joining us for the hawk migration season are Phil Brown (Hawk Watch Coordinator) and Chad Witko (Raptor Biologist). Both bring a wealth of birding experience — Phil as the coordinator of New Hampshire Audubon’s raptor observatory program for the last ten years, and Chad as a co-founder of Antioch University New England’s Bird Club and a season editor with NH Bird Records.
A kettle of Broad-winged Hawks against the backdrop of a bluebird sky. (photo © Billtacular via Flickr Creative Commons)
A Red-shouldered Hawk in flight. (photo © Diana Robinson)
Visiting the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory
Weather permitting, the Observatory will be staffed every day from Sept. 1 through Nov. 15. Peak hawk migration runs from mid-September through mid-October, but early- and late-season spectacles can be found, as well. Visitors are most welcome!
The Observatory is located at an overlook 0.2 mile from the small parking lot at the summit of Pack Monadnock. (Plan ahead, as this lot often fills early on weekends in September and October.) Visitors can also park in the large lot at the base of the mountain, and hike to the summit via the Auto Road (1.3 miles one-way), the Marion Davis Trail (1.4 miles one-way), or the Wapack Trail (approx. 1.6 miles one-way).
There is no fee to visit the Observatory, but there is a fee to enter Miller State Park: $4 per adult and $2 for children age 6 to 11. Children age 5 and under, and NH residents 65 and older, are free. For more information on entrance fees, trails, and other details, please visit the Miller State Park website.
The trail from the summit parking area to the Observatory is 0.2 miles long, and ADA-accessible.
The Observatory is open to the public, but reservations are required for large groups. If you’d like to bring a group to the Hawk Watch, please contact Miller State Park (603-924-3672) in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts. The earlier, the better!
Binoculars are a helpful tool at the Raptor Observatory! (photo © gerlos via the Flickr Creative Commons
Maria Colby releases a rehabilitated Broad-winged Hawk back to the wild at the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory. (photo © Raven Digital)
We are planning several special events in celebration of hawk migration season and the new Harris Center-NH Audubon hawk watch partnership. We do hope you’ll join us for one — or all!
- Raptor Ready for Families — featuring a live hawk — at the Harris Center on Sept. 9
- Fall Hawk Watch Tune-Up at the Harris Center on Sept. 12
- Raptor Migration in NH: What the Numbers Tell Us at the Harris Center on Sept. 18
- Raptor Release at the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory on Sept. 22
- “Big Sit” Migration Watch at the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory on Oct. 13
For more information on the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory, please contact Phil Brown at (603) 525-3499 or by email.