In 2009, HWI conducted or co-sponsored 10 long-term standardized migration counts in 7 states and Veracruz, Mexico. The information gathered in these studies enables us to better understand the life histories, ecology, status, and conservation needs of raptor populations in North America. Because raptors are top-level predators, occupy large home ranges, inhabit most ecosystems, and are sensitive to environmental contamination and other human disturbances, they serve as important biological indicators of ecosystem health. Moreover, due to the remoteness and widespread distribution of most raptor populations, migration counts likely represent the most cost-effective and efficient method for monitoring the regional status and trends of multiple raptor species.
HWI has also been banding migratory raptors at Bonney Butte since 1995. HWI's banding operations provide additional valuable information about migratory routes, breeding and wintering distribution, and the variations and health of individual raptors. Currently, 250-400 raptors are banded each season at Bonney Butte, with up to 12 species represented.
In addition to gathering important scientific data, the Bonney Butte project provides opportunities for the public to learn about the ecology and conservation needs of raptors through on-site environmental education and interpretation conducted by a full-time on-site educator. This educational effort is the key to long-term success in securing public understanding and action on behalf of raptors and the ecosystems upon which we all rely.
The Bonney Butte study site is located within the Mt. Hood National Forest, approximately 6 miles southeast of Government Camp, Oregon. The public is always welcome to visit Bonney Butte during the season to take advantage of the environmental education programs and the great hawkwatching at the site..