Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

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Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
North Lookout toward the East, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Map showing the location of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Map showing the location of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Location of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania
LocationBerks / Schuylkill counties, Pennsylvania, USA
Nearest cityOrwigsburg, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°38′27″N 75°59′32″W / 40.64083°N 75.99222°W / 40.64083; -75.99222[1]Coordinates: 40°38′27″N 75°59′32″W / 40.64083°N 75.99222°W / 40.64083; -75.99222[1]
Area2,600 acres (1,100 ha; 11 km2)[2]
Visitors60,000 (in 2008)[2]
Governing bodyHawk Mountain Sanctuary Association[3]

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a wild bird sanctuary in Albany Township and East Brunswick Township, located along the Appalachian flyway in eastern Pennsylvania. The sanctuary is a prime location for the viewing of kettling and migrating raptors with an average of 20,000 hawks, eagles and falcons passing the lookouts during the late summer and fall every year. The birds are identified and counted by staff and volunteers to produce annual counts of migrating raptors that represent the world's longest record of raptor populations. These counts have provided conservationists with valuable information on changes in raptor numbers in North America.


The Sanctuary is located on a ridge of Hawk Mountain, one of the Blue Mountain chain. The Visitor Center houses a shop and facilities with parking nearby. A habitat garden next to it is home to native plants that are protected by a deer fence. The 1 mile (1.6 km) Lookout Trail runs from the Visitor Center to a number of raptor viewing sites along the ridge, the most popular being the close by South Lookout (elevation 1,300 feet [400 m]) and the North Lookout (elevation 1,521 feet [464 m]) with a 200 degree panoramic view that extends to 70 miles (110 km). Nine trails of varying difficulty are available to hikers and linked to the Appalachian Trail.[citation needed]

South Lookout, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Located in the sanctuary is Schaumboch's Tavern, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[4]


The area was a popular site for shooting hawks, either for sport or to prevent depredations on domestic fowl or game birds. In 1934, Rosalie Edge leased 1,400 acres (570 ha) of property on Hawk Mountain and hired wardens to keep the hunters away. The wardens were Maurice Broun and his wife Irma Broun, bird enthusiasts and conservationists from New England. Almost immediately, there was a noticeable recovery in the raptor population. In 1938, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association was incorporated as a non-profit organization in Pennsylvania, and Edge purchased the property and deeded it to the association in perpetuity.[citation needed]

As the world's oldest wildlife sanctuary exclusively committed to the protection and observation of birds of prey, Hawk Mountain holds a unique place in geographic and scientific history. It is not owned or financially supported by the state; it remains entirely self-sufficient. In 1965 the sanctuary was registered as a National Natural Landmark.[citation needed]

John Denver's bench at Hawk Mountain

Famous visitors to the sanctuary include Rachel Carson[5] and John Denver, whose name is inscribed on a memorial bench at South Lookout.[citation needed]

In 2007, the sanctuary lost one of its dearest friends and the most generous benefactor in its history, Sarkis Acopian, an industrialist and humanitarian. Through his philanthropy, the sanctuary was able to open the Acopian Center for Conservation Learning in 2001, where students come from all over the world to participate in work-study internships, learning about ornithology, environmental science, biology, and related fields.[citation needed]

In 2009, the sanctuary celebrated the 75th anniversary of Rosalie Edge's original efforts.[citation needed]

Migration timetable[edit]

The peak migration time at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is as follows. Time periods given here are those when the raptor has historically been counted on half or more days. Species of raptor are listed in chronological order of the start of their period of likely observation.[6]


  1. ^ "Hawk Mountain Sanctuary". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  2. ^ a b "About Us". Hawk Mountain website. Archived from the original on 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  3. ^ a b "History". Hawk Mountain website. Archived from the original on 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Broun, Maurice. Hawks Aloft: The Story of Hawk Mountain.
  6. ^ "Raptor Migration". Hawk Mountain website. Retrieved 2009-01-18.

External links[edit]