Grandfather Mountain welcomes back Hawk Watch as raptors migrate during September


Photo: Grandfather Mountain

LINVILLE, N.C. (WJHL) – Visitors to Grandfather Mountain can now watch thousands of birds of prey migrate south over the region.

According to a release, Hawk Watch allows guests to Grandfather Mountain to see raptors of all sorts while they head south for the winter.

Birdwatchers can look forward to seeing hundreds or thousands of broad-winged hawks, referred to as kettles, during the month of September.

Grandfather Mountain personnel say sightings of kettles are most common in the second and third week of September.

Grandfather Mountain President Jesse Pope saw a kettle of around 4,800 hawks in less than half an hour in 2015.

Photo: Grandfather Mountain

Hawk Watch also collects important data on the populations and routes of raptors.

Grandfather Mountain is one of over 300 Hawk Watch sites that has been designated by the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

The raptors that pass by will be counted every day that weather permits.

Visitors to Grandfather Mountain will not be able to participate in the official watch due to COVID-19, but they are welcome to come and see the migration at Linville Peak and Half Moon Overlook at the attraction.

“It invokes that sense of wonder we always talk about at Grandfather Mountain,” Pope said. “It’s that time of year where you’re watching a majestic bald eagle soar over the mountain, and you can’t help but ask questions, like, ‘Where are they going?’ or ‘Why are they making this annual journey?’ It’s just an awe-inspiring time of year.”

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