New England is FINALLY entering the very season it is known and cherished for! New Hampshire is obviously remarkable throughout its four irreplaceable seasons, but there is something about the cool, crisp air and undeniably phenomenal foliage that make one feel truly at home in the Granite State woods.
This cozy time of year brings with it all the beloved autumn activities like pumpkin carving and apple picking, but as New Hampshire’s most scenic season approaches, so does the opportunity to try something new…hawk watching!
Hawk watching (or raptor watching) focuses on the migration of raptors and their journey to warm weather as the seasons change up here in the Northeast. The term raptors includes eagles, falcons, ospreys, vultures, kites, harriers, and hawks. You can spot these beautiful creatures voyaging along coast lines and mountain ridges of New Hampshire during the spring and fall seasons.
Peak migration for hawks is from mid-September through mid-October, and our very own Wapack Range is perfectly placed en route to South America for the annual winter migration for several different species.
What’s So Special?
For one, raptors are exceptionally accurate representations of climate health and change, not only because they reside at the top of the food chain, but they also inhabit a multitude of ecosystems throughout the year. As a result, raptors are exposed to the myriad of man-made chemical contaminants in the air.
Monitoring raptor migration provides pertinent information on hawk behavior and migration patterns, ultimately giving scientists more accurate knowledge of population trends within certain raptor species. This is not only important to the species, but also to us and our environment.
Right in Our Own Backyard
Our very own Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory is one of over 300 raptor migration monitoring sites throughout the United States, Canada, and Central America. This site alone annually sees around 11,000 fall-migrating raptors, earning its title as one of the most productive hawk watch sites in northern New England.
In addition to being a remarkable hawk migration viewing spot, it provides a picturesque view of Mount Monadnock, the Green Mountains, the eastern coastal plain and, on a clear day, Mount Washington!
The Raptor Observatory is located in Miller State Park (with an entry fee of $4/adult and $2/child), near the summit of Pack Monadnock in Peterborough. Hikers can summit via three different trails:
- the Auto Road (1.3 miles each way)
- the Marion Davis Trail (1.4 miles each way)
- Wapack Trail (1.6 miles each way)
This wonderful observatory – which is accessible for all ages – will not disappoint! Thousands of people visit each year to witness nature’s visceral and powerful beauty at its finest and always leave educationally enlightened and scenically satisfied.
Luckily for us, our very own backyard provides an extremely unique viewing opportunity for some of Mother Nature’s most magnificent wonders – something that everyone should experience!