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Hawk Watch at Acadia

blog pic (2)By Kristen O’Hara, Raptor Interpretation Intern

For the past several days I have awoken to a briskness in the air blowing outside my window that wasn’t there before. For me this is an enticing chill that awakens a sense of quiet anticipation. Fall is around the corner, bringing with it mountainsides dashed in vibrant reds and yellows, the yumminess of warm apple cider, and smoke from fireplaces scenting the air. The leaves have not begun to change yet but if you need a more concrete sign that fall is on the way—walk into the woods and listen. You may hear many things but you will not hear the birds.

The flirty song birds abundant during the spring and summer have begun to disperse from their Acadian breeding grounds, readying for migration. As the small birds leave, the raptors (which aim to eat the small birds, among other creatures) are right behind them. For the last 20 years or so, locals and visitors alike have had the opportunity to watch these spectacular birds of prey during their southerly migration from the top of Cadillac Mountain, at Acadia’s very own Hawk Watch.

The Hawk Watch on Cadillac is off to a great start. August is usually a bit slow because it is the very beginning of the migration season. However, we had one day in particular when over one hundred raptors were counted. As we move into September, migration numbers will peak. The next day we have a north wind, the sky around Cadillac could be bursting with migrating raptors, ranging from the American kestrel to bald eagles. Currently, sharp-shinned hawks have been the most abundant; approximately two hundred have been counted so far, but who knows what this next week’s counts will show. Come join us—weather permitting—to experience another year full of all the wonders of hawk migration. Hawk Watch is located on the Cadillac North Ridge Trail, 200 feet down from the top of Cadillac. It runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fun has just begun!

For more information on the Peregrine Watch program, visit

4 Responses to “Hawk Watch at Acadia”

    • Aimee Beal Church

      Hi Beth: The Hawk Watch location can be a little difficult to find from the trail itself. If you can start at the summit parking lot, near where the buses park, and walk along the sidewalk in the area of the North Ridge trailhead, there is a sign at the edge of the sidewalk when the Hawk Watch is in operation.

      Sometimes there are Cadillac Summit Stewards or park rangers in the area, who can point the way. I hope this helps!

    • Aimee Beal Church

      Raptors, songbirds, and other seasonal residents have already started appearing. Most notably, the peregrine falcons are already defending nesting sites on the Precipice Trail, Jordan Cliffs Trail, and Valley Cove Trail. The spring migration is more spread out than fall, and Acadia’s doesn’t run a Hawk Watch program on this end of the season. But there’s plenty happening…


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