Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association
Hawk Mountain: Celebrating 75 Years of Raptor Conservation, 1934-2009. Located in east-central Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world's first refuge for birds of prey. Open year-round, visitors enjoy scenic vistas, 8-miles of ridge and valley trails, a Visitor Center, Bookstore, and native plant garden, and each autumn, the chance to observe large numbers of hawks, eagle and falcons as they migrate past our lookouts. Operating as a non-profit eco-tourism site, your trail fee or membership dues help support scientific research, public education and Sanctuary maintenance. Hawk Mountain's mission is to conserve birds of prey worldwide by providing leadership in raptor conservation science and education, and by maintaining Hawk Mountain Sanctuary as a model observation, research and education facility.
Programs and Services To advance the mission, a full-time staff of 16, assisted by a 200-member volunteer corps, carries out integrated conservation programs in education, research, and monitoring, including operating a Visitor Center and the Acopian Center for Conservation Learning, and managing the 2,600-acre Sanctuary, a portion of which is open to the public year round. More than half of the Sanctuary's property is used for scientific monitoring and remains closed to public for habitat preservation.
Wildlife Watching and Hiking Hawk Mountain Sanctuary trails and scenic overlooks provide a high quality, year-round nature experience to an annual 60,000 visitors. During fall weekends, as many as a dozen interns, volunteers and staff spot birds and interpret the spectacle of migration for visitors.
An eight-mile trail system (open dawn to dusk) provides access to Appalachian forest lands and connects to the 2,000-mile long Appalachian Trail.
The closest scenic overlook is just 100 yards from the parking area. Its vista includes the River of Rocks, a mile-long, Ice-age boulder field on the valley floor. A stone-and-earth-viewing platform is available for handicapped visitors. An all-terrain wheelchair is available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. A golf cart with volunteer driver is available on busy autumn weekends. The Visitor Center, open 363 days a year, houses a Wings of Wonder raptor gallery, wildlife viewing areas and Mountain Bookstore.
Education Birds of prey are used as a compelling focus for learning at Hawk Mountain. The Sanctuary trails introduce students, groups and visitors to the geology, flora and fauna of the central Appalachian Mountains. Visit our education page to learn more about weekend programs, guided programs for students and groups, fully-accredited college-level courses, teacher publications and other special events.
The Conservation Internship Program, initiated in 1976, has trained 280 young conservationists from 52 countries on six continents. Students learn raptor conservation, education and research techniques based on first-hand observation of the Sanctuary's successful model of ecotourism-supported conservation.
Raptor Conservation Science Autumn Hawkwatch: The Sanctuary's annual count of hawks, eagles and falcons—the world's longest record of raptor populations—provides valuable information on changes in raptor numbers in northeastern North America.
North American Monitoring Program: A Hawk Mountain bio-statistician works with partner sites to assess the health of raptors across the continent.
Global Studies of Raptor Migration: Hawk Mountain works in partnership with raptor biologists worldwide to study the biology of raptor migration.
Local and Regional Ecology: Hawk Mountain's Acopian Center for Conservation Learning hosts visiting scientists, scholars and academics for collaborative studies on local and regional ecology.
Because half of the raptors that pass the Sanctuary winter south of the United States, Hawk Mountain has a specific conservation focus on Central and South America. The Sanctuary is currently working, including raising funds and offering technical assistance, with partners on raptor conservation projects in Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, and Venezuela. It is our goal to establish and maintain an active network of conservation and research partners in Latin America and along the rest of the world's major flyways. We continue to identify and train conservation leaders, working with BirdLife International partners and other conservation organizations, for training in our Conservation Internship Program.
Stewardship The Sanctuary manages its 2,600 acres for multiple uses, balancing mission-based programs like education and awareness, with the need to maintain a healthy and functioning Appalachian mountaintop ecosystem. In particular, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary provides high-quality habitat for forest-interior breeding birds, including two species on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Partners in Flight Watch List: Black-throated Blue Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler. The Sanctuary's biodiversity is well documented; a recent biological inventory identified more than 1,460 species. We actively work to protect the scenic and ecological integrity of its 2,600 acres and nearby National Park Service Land (AT Corridor) through fee and easement acquisition.