It’s been just over one year since we made a really difficult decision—to suspend operations at five of our HawkWatch research sites for the 2020 season. It was disappointing, but the right thing to do. Most of our sites are located in remote wilderness areas where our crews live in small, communal areas.
With vaccines for COVID-19 now widely available in the United States, we’re thrilled to share that HWI will operate all seven of our long-term raptor migration monitoring sites for fall 2021. Even better, we currently plan to have all seven sites open to visitors. However, our priority remains keeping everyone (our teams, local communities, and visitors) safe. To do that, we will take the following precautions for the 2021 season:
- Require all HWI crew members be vaccinated for COVID-19,
- Rope off crew-only areas at each site to encourage social distancing,
- And establish guidelines for visitors, which can be found below.
In addition to the above safety steps for crews, we ask that all those planning to visit:
- Consider your vaccine status before visiting a site. Families and groups of children visit our sites each year, and those under 12 are still unable to be vaccinated.
- Refrain from visiting sites if you have a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, or other symptoms of COVID-19, or have recently been in close contact with person(s) exhibiting these symptoms in the last 10 days
- Respect signage and barriers that restrict access to certain areas at the sites.
- Respect any closures or changes in protocol that may occur as the global health situation changes this fall.
We’re thrilled to be back at full capacity, continuing this important, long-term work that helps conserve raptors and our shared environment. Thank you for helping us keep everyone safe, and for your support of 35 years of raptor research, education, and conservation.