Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory


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Raptor Research

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Since 1977, CVWO has conducted raptor research during fall migration at Kiptopeke State Park located on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Over this time, raptor populations have declined due to habitat loss and pesticides, as well as other factors. CVWO's research contributes to international data bases, scientific insight, and preservation of these magnificent birds of prey.

In the opening aerial scene of the video above, you can view the migratory route taken by 14 recorded species of raptors over the bottleneck of land that funnels the birds toward the Hawkwatch platform. There, CVWO biologists record information that is shared internationally with science data bases like

A multi-authored scientific paper on the state of the world’s birds of prey and owls was published in September 2018 in Biological Conservation. According to the research, 18% percent of raptors are threatened with extinction and 52% of raptors have declining global populations. Scroll down to see this season's Hawkwatch data as it was recorded onto the new Dunkadoo technology from the platform at Kiptopeke. VISITORS TO THE HAWKWATCH PLATFORM ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!

about kiptopeke hawkwatch


CVWO Uses Dunkadoo Technology For Hawkwatch 2018

Dunkadoo. It’s an unusual name. Dunkadoo is an old New England term for the American Bittern and the name of a non-profit that has developed software tools for professional hawkcounters and other research scientists. The aim is to collect data, download, and share it using the global reach of the Internet, while saving valuable time for our hawkcounter at the end of a long day. Using Dunkadoo our CVWO hawkcounter will enter data on a Galaxy tablet throughout the day which will automatically download to a customized web page on the Dunkadoo site. The data is used to create colorful charts, and graphs, which can be used for education and public outreach. The tool will also auto-submit the CVWO data to With this new tool CVWO can share our hawk watch data with a global community. We are excited to begin the fall hawk migration season with our returning hawkcounter, Anna Stunkel, and this great new tool!

Kiptopeke Hawkwatch Data

The Kiptopeke fall Hawkwatch was established by volunteers in 1977, and has recorded nearly 900,000 hawks and vultures of 19 species.  Experienced Hawkwatchers are hired each year to conduct the Hawkwatch, from September 1- November 30, assisted by a corps of dedicated volunteers. Visitors are always welcome. Hawkwatches are an excellent way to monitor population trends and promote conservation. A majority of hawk species in North America are showing declining numbers. It is the one of the best places in the world to see migrating Merlins and Peregrines, with daily records of 462 and 364, respectively. The annual College Creek Spring Hawkwatch, on the shore of the James River near Williamsburg, was established in 1997 and records an average of nearly 2,000 hawks and vultures each year. To see hawkwatch data, click this link:

Pictured above and to the right are hawks seen from the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch and some of the long-term volunteers who assist our paid hawkwatcher.

Visitors are always welcome at Kiptopeke State Park to help us find birds and to learn about the amazing hawk migration. The hawkwatch operates daily, weather permitting, through November.

Anna and the platform volunteers also keep track of the other notable species flying over the platform! How many saw the Roseate Spoonbill flyover last fall? And we’ll be paying attention to our hummingbird feeders and seed feeders, too.

Read about Hawkwatch 2018 in our newsroom here and our blog here.