Raptor Migration and Conservation | Montana Audubon

Birds & Science

We use the best available science to ensure the survival of Montana's birds and other wildlife.


Raptor Migration and Conservation

Monitoring migratory raptors takes collaboration, time, a network of prime survey locations, and especially in the fall, good luck with the weather. Fortunately for Montana, the north-south mountainous ridgelines that make up the Rocky Mountains also make for ideal migratory conditions, where prevailing winds assist raptors with their long-distance travels. 

During the past decade, Montana Audubon has helped support education about migratory raptors and raptor migration surveys in 4 Western Montana locations, including the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman, the Big Belt Mountains south of Helena, Jewel Basin near Bigfork and Mt. Brown in Glacier National Park. These sites are part of a network of ten, long-term, fall migration count sites between Alberta and southern Montana. 

Using these sites to track migratory raptors is so important because during the breeding season birds are too widely dispersed and secretive to monitor at a population level. And, as apex predators, raptors are a great indicator of ecosystem health. 

Looking for some hawk id resources? Check out this book list: 

Recommended Books on Hawk Identification-PDF

Raptor Migration

Fall is a busy time to catch the raptor migration in action. Learn what we’re doing to get outside and support raptor migration surveys and conservation each year.

Raptor Events

During the raptor migration season, there are events around Montana you can attend.

2020 Online Raptor Identification Classes

Learn how to identify Montana’s 17 raptor species. Password protected for the 2020 participants.

2021 Online Raptor Identification Classes

Revisit some of our identification tips and techniques discussed during our fall, 2021 class. Password protected for the 2021 participants.

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