|night sky along the ridge photo: Kyle Dudgeon|
Bridger Mountains Hawk Watch is located in southwestern Montana on USFS Gallatin National Forest public land, and since 2009 has been operated in partnership with Montana Audubon. HWI began fall migration counts at this site in in 1991 to learn more about and monitor long-term trends in populations of raptors using this northern portion of the Rocky Mountain Flyway. More than twenty years ago, Fred Tilly discovered the Bridger Range to be an important fall flyway for raptors. He conducted limited migration counts at the site in 1979, 1980, and 1982 to set the stage for HWI beginning standardized counts in the 1990s. The flyway is noted for the largest concentration of Golden Eagles in the lower 48 states, with peak eagle activity (sometimes more than 200 eagles/day) in mid-October. Golden Eagle counts typically range from 1200-1900 birds per season. Up to 1,500 migrants of 17 additional species also may be seen each season, with Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, and American Kestrels among the most commonly seen species.
A brief summary report of the count will be prepared at the end of each count season. This report will be readily available to interested members of the public.
2018 Bridger Raptor Migration Report
2017 Bridger Raptor Migration Report
2016 Bridger Raptor Migration Report