Discover the Best Hawk Watching Sites in the Tri-State Area

West virginia, maryland, and delaware offer exceptional hawk watching sites worth visiting. Here are the top 11 spots.

Nestled in the appalachian mountains, these states provide ample opportunities to marvel at the great american raptor during its annual migration. With an abundance of open spaces and natural reserves, bird enthusiasts can witness the majestic birds of prey flying in the blue skies during the fall season.

These areas offer more than just hawk watching, visitors can take part in various natural activities with family or friends, making memories that will last a lifetime. In this article, we will introduce you to the top 11 hawk watching sites in west virginia, maryland, and delaware, allowing you to explore the beautiful regions and witness the awe-inspiring hawk migration.

Discover the Best Hawk Watching Sites in the Tri-State Area


What Is Hawk Watching?

Definition Of Hawk Watching

Hawk watching is the activity of observing hawks’ migration and behavior patterns. Fall is the prime season for this activity when millions of raptors migrate southward to escape from harsh winter climates. Hawk watching not only provides a sense of awe-inspiring nature but also helps to understand the importance of biodiversity for our ecosystem.

Reasons Why Hawk Watching Is Popular In The Tri-State Area

The tri-state area, including west virginia, maryland, and delaware, is a perfect location to observe hawk migration. Hawk watching is popular in the tri-state area because:

  • It is an easy-to-do outdoor activity
  • The region has a diverse landscape that attracts various birds of prey
  • The beauty of nature and the thrill of seeing aerial acrobatics combine to create an unforgettable experience

Tips For Beginner Hawk Watchers

If you are a beginner, follow these tips to make the most out of your hawk watching experience:

  • Select a hawk watching site that is easy to access, has facilities, and is known for hosting seasonal raptor migration.
  • Bring appropriate gear such as binoculars, field guides, warm clothing, and sturdy footwear.
  • Learn about individual hawk species and their behavior, migration patterns, and habitat preferences before visiting a site.
  • Look for signs of hawk migration such as individuals or groups in the air, called kettles, or the distinctive v-shape formation.
  • Observe the behavior of hawks such as the way they soar and lift currents to gain altitude.
  • Learn about the environmental factors that affect hawk migration such as weather patterns and topography.
  • Observe other bird species to enhance your knowledge of the ecosystem.
  • Respect other hawk watchers and their equipment.
  • Do not disturb or approach hawks too closely.
  • Keep the environment clean by taking your trash with you.

Hawk watching is a fascinating outdoor activity that attracts nature enthusiasts to witness the majestic migration of hawks and other raptors. Beginners must follow the tips mentioned above and choose a suitable location to make the most out of their experience.

1. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Hawk mountain sanctuary, located in pennsylvania, offers an ideal hawk watching location for people residing in west virginia, maryland, and delaware. Here are some key points to note regarding this exceptional site:

Location And Accessibility

  • Address: 1700 hawk mountain rd, kempton, pa 19529, united states.
  • Hawk mountain sanctuary is situated in the appalachian mountains, overlooking the gorgeous lehigh valley.
  • Driving distance from west virginia is about 6 hours, 2 hours from maryland, and nearly 3 hours from delaware.
  • Visitors should enter at the mountain road entrance, where there is ample parking space.
  • A hike of half a mile is needed to reach the north lookout, which is the primary spot for observing hawks.

Types Of Hawks That Can Be Seen

  • Hawk mountain sanctuary is an essential stop for birds of prey migrating from northern america to south america each autumn.
  • 16 different species of raptors use hawk mountain as part of their migratory flyway.
  • The sanctuary is renowned for its consistently high raptor count, peaking from mid-september to mid-october.
  • Visitors will be able to see some of the following species of hawk: Bald eagle, peregrine falcon, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture, northern harrier, and red-shouldered hawk.

Best Time Of The Year To Visit

  • The ideal time to visit hawk mountain sanctuary is during the fall season, more specifically, when the raptor migration reaches its height.
  • September and october are the best months to see a wide variety of hawks at the sanctuary.
  • The sanctuary also offers a variety of on-site educational programs, live bird of prey programs, and more for individuals and groups.
  • Visitors should expect crowds during peak migration times, so plan accordingly.

With over 85 years of protecting raptors and working towards conservation, hawk mountain sanctuary is a remarkable and must-visit hawk watching destination in pennsylvania and the surrounding states.

2. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Located on the border of pennsylvania and new jersey, the delaware water gap national recreation area is a stunning natural landscape comprising huge forests, tumbling rivers, and towering peaks. The area is a sanctuary for over 200 species of birds, including some remarkable birds of prey.

Location And Accessibility

The delaware water gap national recreation area can easily be reached by car from a number of major cities, including new york city, philadelphia, and baltimore. The park has two visitor centers, one at kittatinny point and the other at millbrook village.

Both provide comprehensive information about the park and its amenities.

Types Of Hawks That Can Be Seen

The delaware water gap national recreation area is a fantastic destination for hawk-watching enthusiasts. The most common hawks seen here include:

  • Bald eagle
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Cooper’s hawk

Best Times Of The Year To Visit

The fall months of september and october are the best times to visit delaware water gap national recreation area for great hawk watching. At this time, over a million birds, including hawks, fly over the water gap. It is a spectacle not to be missed.

Additionally, early spring in march and april is also a great time to see migrating hawks.

The delaware water gap national recreation area is a unique and exciting destination for all types of outdoor enthusiasts, including bird watchers. Its stunning natural beauty and diverse habitats create the ideal environment for hawks to thrive, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe these magnificent birds in their natural habitat.

Plan a visit today to experience delaware water gap’s hawk watching at its finest.

3. Acadia National Park

Location And Accessibility

Acadia national park is situated on mount desert island in maine state. The park is easily accessible from the mainland by various means, including ferry and bridge, making it a popular destination for hawk watching enthusiasts. The primary location to view hawks is cadillac mountain, a great spot for observing soaring birds of prey.

Types Of Hawks That Can Be Seen

A wide range of hawks can be spotted at acadia national park, including:

  • Sharp-shinned hawk
  • Osprey
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Bald eagle
  • Cooper’s hawk
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Northern harrier

Best Times Of The Year To Visit

The best time to visit acadia national park for hawk watching is between september and november. This is the time when the fall foliage is at its peak and migratory hawks are passing through the area. It is also a good time to spot a variety of other bird species such as warblers, waterfowl and many more.

During these months, the park experienced a significant increase in the number of travelers and tourists.

4. Cape May Point State Park

Location And Accessibility

Cape may point state park is located in cape may county, new jersey, a distinct attraction that is known for its remarkable hawk watching sites. The park is perched on the southernmost point of new jersey and is accessible by road, rail, and ferry.

Once you arrive, you will enjoy viewing hawks in their natural habitats without any difficulties.

Types Of Hawks That Can Be Seen

As one of the world’s natural wonders, cape may point state park provides bird watchers the opportunity to view a diversity of hawk species. This idyllic location is known for its magnificent raptors, including sharp-shinned hawks, peregrine falcons, ospreys, and various other species.

Here are some of the hawks that you can spot while in cape may point state park:

  • Red-tailed hawks: They are populous and among the largest hawks. They have a reddish-brown tail, and their wingspan can reach up to 56 inches.
  • Northern harriers: They are known as marsh hawks, and they have a distinctive owl-like rounded face. They are medium-sized with slim wings and a long tail.
  • Turkey vultures: They are also known as turkey buzzards, and they are easy to spot because of their distinctive bald heads.
  • Cooper’s hawk: They are smaller than their cousin the sharp-shinned hawk. They can be confused with the sharp-shinned hawk, but they have a rounded tail.

Best Times Of The Year To Visit

The best time for hawk watching in cape may point state park is in the fall during the months of september, october, and november. During this period, thousands of hawks fly over the park as part of their migration from the north to the south.

The sky is a sight to behold, full of different types of hawks soaring in flocks.

If you want to experience the most significant hawk migration, the best time of day to visit is between 9 am to 2 pm. However, hawk watching is a year-round activity, and you can still spot different types of hawks, including resident eagles and ospreys, throughout the year.

Cape may point state park is an ideal place to visit if you’re looking to enjoy some awe-inspiring hawk watching. With its unique location, accessibility, and variety of hawk species that can be spotted, it’s hard to find a better place to view these magnificent raptors.

5. Bashakill Wildlife Management Area

Bashakill Wildlife Management Area

The bashakill wildlife management area is a renowned hawk-watching site located in sullivan county, new york. The area covers 2,213 acres and features a mix of wetlands, thickets, and woodlands that attract birds of all kinds. Here are the essential details you need to know about this incredible hawk-watching site.

Location And Accessibility

  • Bashakill wildlife management area is located approximately 100 miles north of new york city, making it easily accessible for visitors who want to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.
  • The site is easily accessible by vehicle, with ample parking available at various points near the wetlands.

Types Of Hawks That Can Be Seen

  • Bashakill is famous for sighting a variety of hawk species such as cooper’s hawk, northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, and others.
  • Apart from hawks, visitors can also spot bald eagles, ospreys, and various songbirds.

Best Times Of The Year To Visit

  • The best time to visit bashakill wildlife management area for hawk watching is during the fall migration, typically between september and november.
  • Spring is also a great time for birding, with the possibility of sighting a wide range of species.
  • Keep in mind that the weather plays a significant role in bird sightings. It is best to visit when the weather is cool and dry as birds tend to fly more when the wind conditions are favorable.

Bashakill wildlife management area offers an incredible opportunity to witness the magnificent hawk migration that takes place in the fall. With its beautiful and unique landscape, it’s easy to see why it’s an ideal destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Equipment And Resources For Successful Hawk Watching

Top 11 remarkable hawk watching sites in west virginia, maryland, and delaware

If you’re looking for a thrilling outdoor activity, hawk watching might be just the thing for you. West virginia, maryland, and delaware are home to some of the best sites for viewing hawks as they migrate through the region. To make the most of your experience, it’s essential to have the right equipment and resources.

Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing binoculars and spotting scopes, camera tips for capturing hawk photos, clothing and accessory recommendations, and resources for planning a successful hawk watching trip.

Binoculars And Spotting Scopes: What To Look For

To fully experience the beauty of hawk watching, you’ll want a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Magnification: For most hawk watching, a magnification of 7-10x is sufficient.
  • Objective lens size: Choose a lens size of at least 42mm for better light gathering and image clarity.
  • Quality optics: Choose a reputable brand and quality optics for better visual clarity.
  • Durability: Look for binoculars or scopes that are durable and weather-resistant for outdoor use.
  • Comfort: Make sure the binoculars or scopes feel comfortable around your eyes and are easy to carry.

Camera Tips For Capturing Hawk Photos

Hawk watching is a great opportunity to capture some stunning photos. Here are some tips for making the most of your camera:

  • Telephoto lenses: Use a telephoto lens with a minimum of 200mm to get a close-up shot.
  • Shutter speed and aperture: Use fast shutter speeds and wide apertures to capture movement and create a blurred background.
  • Focusing: Use manual focus for more control and to ensure sharp images.
  • Patience: Be patient and observant to capture the perfect shot.

Clothing And Accessory Recommendations

Hawk watching often involves a lot of standing and waiting, so it’s important to dress comfortably and bring the right accessories. Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Footwear: Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes suitable for outdoor activities.
  • Clothing layers: Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.
  • Hat and sunscreen: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays with a hat and sunscreen.
  • Insect repellant: Apply insect repellant to avoid mosquito and tick bites.
  • Snacks and water: Bring plenty of snacks and water to stay energized throughout the day.

Resources For Planning A Successful Hawk Watching Trip

To make the most of your hawk watching trip, it’s important to plan ahead and know where to go. Here are some resources that can help:

  • Local birding clubs: Check with local birding clubs to get tips on the best hawk watching sites in the area.
  • State parks and wildlife management areas: Visit state parks and wildlife management areas to find hawk watching sites with stunning vistas and ample parking.
  • Online resources: Use online resources like ebird and all about birds to get up-to-date information on hawk sightings and migration patterns.

With the right equipment and resources, hawk watching can be an incredibly rewarding and exciting activity. So pack your binoculars, camera, and comfortable clothes, and head out to one of the top 11 remarkable hawk watching sites in west virginia, maryland, and delaware for an unforgettable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions Of “Top 11 Remarkable Hawk Watching Sites In West Virginia, Maryland, And Delaware”

What Is Hawk Watching?

Hawk watching is the observation of hawks and other birds of prey in their natural habitat during their migratory period.

Where Are The Best Spots For Hawk Watching In West Virginia?

The best hawk watching sites in west virginia are the new river gorge, spruce knob, and canaan valley.

What Are The Most Populated Species Of Hawks In Maryland?

Maryland is home to a variety of hawks, including the red-tailed hawk, american kestrel, and cooper’s hawk.

When Is The Best Time To Go Hawk Watching In Delaware?

The best time to go hawk watching in delaware is during the fall migration, from mid-september to mid-november, when the most hawks are passing through.

What Should I Bring When Hawk Watching?

When going hawk watching, be sure to bring binoculars, a field guide, a camera, snacks, and water. Dress in layers for changing weather conditions.

Can I Go Hawk Watching Alone Or Do I Need A Guide?

While it is possible to go hawk watching alone, taking a guided tour or going with an experienced group can enhance your experience and increase your chances of seeing a variety of hawks.


Now that you know the top 11 remarkable hawk watching sites in west virginia, maryland, and delaware, it’s time to plan your trip and experience the thrill of seeing these majestic birds up close. From scenic overlooks to wildlife refuges, each location offers its own unique vantage point and rich diversity of hawk species.

Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, dress in layers, and pack a picnic lunch for a full day of outdoor adventure. Keep in mind that the best hawk watching season is from mid-september to mid-november, so plan accordingly. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, these hawk watching sites will not disappoint.

So put on your hiking boots and get ready to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles in action. Happy birding!

Md Atiqul Hakim

AtiQ's blog, "Wild Bird Lady," is a treasure trove of insights, tips, and captivating stories. Join him on a fascinating journey of exploration, discovery, and celebration of our avian neighbors through engaging articles and breathtaking photographs.

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