Masters of the Sky: Birds of Prey in the Pacific Northwest

Field Trip:  Saturday, October 8th, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm



Bonney Butte HawkWatch Site, Mount Hood


Bonney Butte, just south of Oregon’s Mount Hood, is home to the largest known fall concentration of migrating raptors in Oregon. In 1994, HawkWatch International hired observers to conduct a season-long count, and in 1995 a small-scale banding program was begun. Between 2,000 and 4,500 migrant hawks pass by Bonney Butte each fall, including Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, Merlins, Red-tailed Hawks, and Golden Eagles. Even the elusive Northern Goshawk can be spotted on a lucky day. Spending a day at this site is a unique raptor-watching opportunity, as we get to see hawks on the move as they fly to their winter quarters. Not only will we see hawks in flight, we might be lucky enough to see hawks up close after they’ve been caught and banded at the nearby banding station and brought down to the public area for release.

We will meet at a central location (to be determined) at 8am and carpool to Bonney Butte, about 2 hours away. High clearance vehicles are recommended to traverse the last 4 miles of road. A Subaru Outback can do it, but a Camaro can’t. Bring lunch, water, and a lightweight chair, as we will be at the site for several hours. There is no restroom here; any call of nature must be answered in the wild. We will hike 0.25 mile from the parking area up to the hawk-watching site. A Forest Pass is not required.

Suggested items to bring to both the class and field trip:  Binoculars, notepad, pen or pencil,  layered clothing, sturdy shoes.

Cost:  $30 for Field Trip

Register Online Here


Laura WhittemoreInstructor Laura Whittemore has been teaching classes in beginning birding and birding by ear for the Audubon Society of Portland since 2000. She loves to teach people about birds and open the door to learning more about their fascinating and interesting lives. Her goal as a teacher is to help students raise their awareness of the natural world around them. Laura finds that taking just five minutes to slow down and watch birds creates a meaningful and inspiring connection with creatures other people might pass by.

September’s class was wonderful!

 Saturday, September 10th, 1:00 -4:00 pm

Laura Whittemore returns to offer an edifying and enlivening glimpse  into the magnificent hunters of the bird world, eagles, hawks and falcons. Drawing on her vast knowledge and with the aid of a multi-media presentation, Laura will bring us closer to the birds of prey that soar the skies of Washington and Oregon.

The presentation will include:

  • The major differences between eagles, hawks, and falcons
  • Why winter is the best time to see birds of prey
  • How to spot raptors and ID them by shape and size
  • Habitat and prey preferences
  • Which species are here all year and which visit only in winter
  • The best winter raptor-watching spots around Oregon and Washington

We will also enjoy some outdoor interactive time as well as light snacks and warm beverages.

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