Cumberland Gap Hawk Watch is a newly started hawk watch located on the western side of Cumberland Maryland atop "Lovers Leap" in Wills Mountain State Park. What is a hawk watch? Its a location where migrating birds of prey (hawks, eagles, falcons, etc.) are counted as they fly by in an effort to study their population, migration paths, species accounts and many other things which are studied from the data collected at count sites located around the world. Most people that visit a hawk watch find it to be very addicting and a great way to spend free time. Most productive hawk watch sites are affiliated with HMANA (Hawk Migration Association of North America). In the Eastern U.S. birds of prey use the windy ridges of the Appalachian mountains to make their journey to their wintering grounds in the Southern U.S. and South America. On the right "good wind days" hundreds or even thousands of migrating raptors fly up and down the Wills Mountain anticline utilizing the winds and thermals the ridge and valley system provides. One of the most famous hawk watch sites in the eastern U.S. is Hawk Mountain Sanctuary located in Eastern Pennsylvania. An informal count is currently being conducted on the rock outcrop 600' above Route 40 in the Cumberland Gap. Volunteers are needed to help make the site a success. Please contact me if you'd like to visit the site or help with the count. The count site offers the opportunity for everyone of all ages to enjoy and marvel at the raptors flying (sometimes very close) overhead. If you're already a hawk watcher, please come enjoy the site. If you're new to the activity of hawk watching all you need is a pair of binoculars to enjoy this natural event that happens every spring and fall. See our current seasonal count at Cumberland Gap hawk count page
Note: The top of the Wills Mountain, Cumberland Gap Hawk Watch is much cooler than the valley floor. It is notorious for strong winds. In preparation its advisable to dress a little warmer than you would expect when visiting the site. Better to have it than not!
Current News: September 2012
Over the next few weeks the Broadwinged Hawks will be making their mass move South down the ridge. The skies above the gap will be filled with large kettles. This is one of the peaks of migration and should not be missed. Stop up and watch as they move through. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.