East Cascades Audubon Society's 2021 Green Ridge Raptor Survey has completed its 15th successful hawk watch season. A total of 1,828 raptors representing 14 species were recorded in 74 hours of observation that averages an impressive 24.7 raptors per hour during 11 days of effort. This is substantially higher than HawkWatch International's 1994 trial count conducted from the nearby Green Ridge Fire Lookout. Detailed data can be accessed on the Hawk Migration Association of North America Raptor Migration Data Base at HawkCount.org. On the human front, we had a total of 130 participants/visitors sharing in the fun. Special thanks to our observer extrodinare Peter Low and to Judy Meredith, who were both present every day of the season, and to all of our frequent fliers. ECAS thanks the Sisters Ranger District for continued support and Jim and Sue Anderson for inspiration.
141 Bald Eagle
6 Northern Harrier
617 Sharp-shinned Hawk
280 Cooper's Hawk
1 Northern Goshawk
218 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Rough-legged Hawk
40 Golden Eagle
11 American Kestrel
16 Peregrine Falcon
2 Prairie Falco
55 Unid. Accipiter
5 Unid. Buteo
1 Unid. Falcon
18 Unid. Raptor
304 Turkey Vulture
Green Ridge Raptor Migration - Scheduled for 2021
The 15th season of data collection of this volunteer based citizen science project is now under way. Our first weekend of operation will be on the 11th and 12th of September, 2021. Hopefully, wildfire smoke and the latest Covid spike will be behind us by then. The expectation is that all volunteers will be vaccinated and we will follow state and Health Authority guidelines. No rides will be given from Indian Ford Campground. We will continue through the first three weekends of October with the fourth weekend being optional based on the count and weather forecasts. Details, directions and other logistics can be found on this webpage We can always use more eyes to the skies to spot and track raptors moving through. Hope to see you up there! Please be advised that Portland Audubon Society and Oregon Birding Association will have field trips to the site in the afternoons of Oct. 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Whether you come up for an hour or stay for the day the views are great. Green Ridge has been designated an Important Bird Area by Portland Audubon and many passerines move through as well. Contact David Vick at either (541-923-6943 or email@example.com if you would like to volunteer to help staff the site or have other questions.
Although any passenger car can access the site the gravel portion of the route up to the site has not been graded in years and has sections of washboards and potholes so slow is the way to go. The trail to the site is less than a 1/4 mile. We annually record up to 16 species of raptors and days of over 200 birds passing through are not uncommon with our highest count being 420 birds. You do not have to be an expert hawk identifier. If you can find the birds in the sky, you are a great help. We staff the site between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM weather permitting, but you can stay only as long as you want. Volunteers join up with experienced surveyors and everyone carpools to the official location. No experience is required and it is great fun! Learn how to identify various hawks in flight.
Along with scores of other hawk watch sites across North America our data is added to the HawkCount data base which is used in calculating Raptor Population Indexes. Such information on population trends is crucial in conserving these magnificent birds of prey.
Here is the volunteer information with ECAS Fall Raptor Migration:
WHY: Raptors help us by acting as ecological barometers. They are sensitive indicators of changes in the ecosystems, not only within our country but across political borders. As do many predators, raptors play a critical role in maintaining ecosystem health. The yearly trends in data various hawk watch sites point out rises or declines in species numbers. This information is useful to biologists and conservationists.
WHERE: Carpooling can take place at Indian Ford Campground near Sisters, Oregon. The survey site is approximately 18 miles from Indian Ford Campground. Carpooling is strongly encouraged from the entrance to Indian Ford Campground, which is only 30 yards from the highway. However, we will not be officially meeting there for rides to the site this year due to Covid.
DIRECTIONS TO MEETING SITE: To reach Indian Ford Campground, Take Hwy 126/20 west out of Sisters following signs to Salem. Travel on this road about 5.5 miles. Indian Ford Campground is on the north side of the highway, and the parking lot is just 100 feet off of the highway after you turn.
SURVEY SITE LOCATION: For those who do not meet at Indian Ford CG, here are the directions to the Survey Site:
Take Hwy. 20 west of Sisters 6 miles (one mile east of Black Butte Ranch) to the Forest Rd.(FR) 11 Jct. Go north on FR 11 for 10 miles to end of pavement. At the end of pavement bear left on FR 1150 for 7 miles. Follow signs to Green Ridge Lookout. Turn left on FR 1154 also follow lookout sign. Go for 1 mile to FR 1140 jct. also lookout sign Go left on FR 1140 for approximately 1/4 mile to 600 road jct. ( the first jct.) Go right on 600 Rd. for approximately 1 mile. There will be a small parking spot on the right next to the portapotty. If you go to the top of the ridge you have gone too far. The trail to the site goes north for less than a 1/4 mile and is well marked with directional signs on weekends.
Raptor species likely to be seen:
Bald Eagle; Golden Eagle; American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed hawk, Northern Harrier, Osprey, and (Turkey Vulture). Prairie Falcon and Broad-winged Hawk have also been noted a few times.