August 1, 2014 – After being closed for six years due to funding constraints, HawkWatch International (HWI) will re-open the Lipan Point Count Site at Grand Canyon National Park for the 2014 fall raptor migration season. This site will be one of nine annual migration counts conducted or co-sponsored by HWI as part of its overall western network. The primary objective of these efforts is to track long-term population trends of diurnal raptors moving through western North America for conservation planning.
HawkWatch International initiated standardized raptor migration counts at Lipan Point in 1991, and later in 1997 began simultaneous standardized monitoring at Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park. These sites were picked based on exploratory counts in 1987-1990 that found high passage rates per hour. Annual counts average up to 10,000 raptors of more than 15 species during the project operation period of August 27-November 5. Both sites were identified and categorized as Important Bird Areas in 2002, a designation that was extended to the entire park in 2014.
Due to funding constraints, operations at Lipan Point ceased in 2009, with Yaki Point stopping later in 2010. Thanks to funding from the Grand Canyon Association, Yaki Point was re-established in 2013; Lipan Point followed in 2014 thanks to funding from the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Fund Program.
The Yaki and Lipan Point migration projects add valuable data to HWI’s migration monitoring network, allowing the organization to connect the dots on migrant movements along the entire western flyway. Additionally, because the sites are located inside of Grand Canyon National Park, visitation is among the highest of any site in the network. HWI promotes visitation to all of their migration sites and offers education/interpretation programs that teach about raptor identification, migration ecology, conservation planning, and local flora and fauna. Thousands of people visit the Grand Canyon sites each year to take part in hawkwatching and education programs with the HWI field crew.
For more information on HawkWatch International’s migration sites, directions, dates and hours of operation, visit www.hawkwatch.org/migration.