HWI and the Cibola National Forest are working to learn more about raptors and their migration through New Mexico at the Sandia and Manzano Mountains research sites. HWI began standardized, annual migration counts in the Sandia Mountains in 1985, followed by a banding project in 1990. These operations came to a close in 2010 when HWI decided to focus resources on the fall migration operations at the Manzano Mountains site.
Historic annual spring counts typically range between 3,200-6,500 migrants of up to 18 species. The Sandia count monitored long-term trends in populations of raptors using the southern Rocky Mountain Flyway. In 1999, HWI tracked raptors banded in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains using satellite telemetry that provided valuable information on the breeding and wintering distributions and migratory habits of selected species. This historic spring migration site continues to be a cherished place to many, and HWI continues to lead occasional field trips to the site during spring migration.