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Broad-winged Hawk - Vic Berardi

Brockway Mountain Drive is the highest scenic roadway between the Alleghenies and the Rockies and is the most popular vista in the Upper Peninsula. There are several pull-offs on the way up the mountain to enjoy the surrounding country. At the peak you have a 360 view of the forests, lakes and Lake Superior. And of course, awesome birding!

The top of the mountain is a superb spot for a sunset. Because of the darkness (no electricity up there) it is also an ideal spot for stargazing and catching the Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights if they are making an appearance.

The spring migration over Brockway Mountain is spectacular. The fact that birders can watch the passing raptors at eye level and even look at them flying below make Brockway a unique viewing area.

Brockway Mountain has been recognized as an IBA (Important Bird Area) by the National Audubon Society due to the number of raptors and other migrating birds that take that path. Brockway has also been the site for the first formal 3 month survey, the Keweenaw Raptor Survey and currently the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch. Clearly, Brockway Mountain is a Hot Spot for birding, especially raptors.

The drive is considered a seasonal road. It "opens" in the spring when the snow is gone from the road. It becomes part of snowmobile trail #3 in the winter.

Photos courtesy of Karen Karl
Aurora Photography

Visit the Photo Gallery for
Raptors over Brockway photos

Brockway Mountain Drive
Voted best of the Seven Wonders of the UP!

Travel & Leisure Magazine has featured Brockway Mountain in it's "America's Best Spring Drives" article!

Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch

Please visit the official website

The Keweenaw Raptor survey kicked off the study of hawk migration over Brockway Mountain. The next study is called the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch, organized by Copper Harbor Birding and Copper Country Audubon. We are aspiring to continue the study, 3 years at a time, over several consecutive years in order to obtain the long-term data necessary for comprehensive analysis.

The survey provides important information in the whole picture of current Raptor health and recovery from the deadly era of DDT usage when some species were headed for extinction, especially Eagles, Osprey, and Peregrine Falcons.

Many sites in the East, like Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, have had formal counts for over 30 years.  Brockway Mountain is an important Midwest site. This count site provides important data contributing to the knowledge of raptor migration in the Lake Superior region, including the effects of climate change and lake-influenced weather patterns on birds of prey.

A count such as this requires that a professional Hawk Counter be hired annually, from April 15th to June 15th,  to count and categorize 16 species of raptors, recording hourly counts, temperature, barometric readings, wind speed, direction, cloud types and cloud cover.

The data is then entered daily on the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) where it is compiled with other counts across the country to create a real-time database and promote scientific analysis as well as provide journals and seasonal reports.  It is also posted on this blog.

Expenses include but are not limited to; housing the counter, pay for the counter and substitute counters, transportation up the mountain in early spring which requires a snowmobile and various supplies needed to conduct the survey.

We need the Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch!  Please help support the continuation of this valuable research! Make out and send your checks to:

Copper Country Audubon Club
P.O. Box 124
Houghton, Michigan 49931

Or use a credit card with this secure PayPal option. (You don't need a PayPal account)

The Copper Country Audubon Club is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization so your gifts are tax deductible.

A view of the peak in springtime

Looking back from the peak in Fall