Commissary Ridge HawkWatch, WY
Daily 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. Weather Permitting
About the Site
Each fall since 2002, HawkWatch International has counted every migrating raptor soaring past Commissary Ridge HawkWatch. After completing a survey of 26 locations across Wyoming, Commissary Ridge showed a higher overall volume and diversity of raptors and was by far the most accessible and logistically well-suited for a hawkwatch site. As the only standardized migration count site in the state—and much of the Rocky Mountain Flyway—the site provides invaluable data to our larger network of sites.
Why are you counting raptors?
To be effective for regional monitoring of broadly distributed species, migration monitoring must involve a network of well-distributed, standardized counts that effectively sample all major flyways and known sub-populations. Due to sparse coverage of long-term raptor migration surveys in the Central Rockies between Montana and New Mexico, HWI started the Commissary Ridge HawkWatch in 2002 to fill the gaps.
Because raptors sit at the top of the food chain, they are more sensitive to environmental changes. This makes them excellent biological indicators of ecosystem health. Through migration counts at our network of sites, we’re able to keep a pulse on the health of raptor populations and our shared environment. In addition to conducting our own conservation work, we share our data with state and federal agencies to help guide their conservation efforts.
What will I see at the site?
How do I get to the site?
From Evanston, Wyoming, head east on I-80 for 13 miles. Take U.S. 189 north to Kemmerer and continue 1 mile north of Kemmerer to Frontier, then turn northwest on State Rd 233. Continue for about 16 miles to Lake Viva Naughton/Viva Naughton Reservoir (before reaching Lake Viva Naughton, you will pass another smaller reservoir). At the southeast tip of Lake Viva Naughton, turn right on a 2-track dirt road (unmarked BLM road, look for a small sign on the fence about 30 feet from the main road). Continue down the dirt road to the ridge, about six miles. The camp will be on your left. Walk up the ridge to the observation area.
Where should I stay when I visit the site?
There are plenty of remote camping options near the site or in the valley below along the Hams Fork River. The closest sites are located at Lake Viva Naughton, about 15 minutes from the site.
For those interested in hotels, there are several motel options in Kemmerer and Diamondville. These are within 25 miles of the site.
Do I need to register before I visit?
We ask that ONLY organized groups of more than 6 individuals register before coming. You can request a timeslot here: https://form.jotform.com/HawkWatchInternational/schedule-your-migration-visit
The Site at a Glance
The Commissary Ridge HawkWatch would not be possible without the support of our partners. Thank you for investing in long-term raptor research, education, and conservation.
Join our Community of Raptor Conservationists
Curious what the crew is up to? Have questions about the local weather or the recent flight? Join our community of raptor conservationists in the Friends of Commissary Ridge Facebook Group!