Beginning in early September we climb to overlook sweeping vistas of ridge-valley terrain, where updrafts of warm air lift the wings of a fierce procession: broad-winged, sharp-shinned, red-tailed and rough shouldered hawks, kestrels, ospreys, peregrine falcons, golden eagles and others. One of the best places to view the phenomenon is Hawk Mountain in the Blue Ridge of eastern Pennsylvania. The area includes 13,000 acres of protected private and public land, including the 2,600 acre Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, where a short hike brings you to incredible scenic views. The site was formerly a killing field, where hunters gathered annually to shoot hundreds of birds of prey, then considered to be pests.
The Sanctuary was incorporated in the late 1930's. The transformation of public awareness about Hawk Mountain and the success of its conservation mission is owed in large measure to Maurice Broun and his wife Irma, the first guardians of the sanctuary.
Broun's book Hawks Aloft: The Story of Hawk Mountain is our October 2013 selection. Members of PVNWG, field glasses at the ready, will also visit the sanctuary which has an 8-mile trail system, visitor center, bookstore, and interpretive programs.
We give honorable mention to another author Scott Weidensaul. His Raptor Almanac is a compendium of raptor lore and images that provides hours of fascination.