Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch is situated atop Blue Mountain and is one of seven hawk watch sites along the Kittatinny Ridge. This extraordinary ridge boasts 185 miles of forests stretching from the Delaware River to the Mason-Dixon Line. The ridge serves as a roadmap for the tens of thousands of hawks, eagles, and falcons that migrate each fall. Lesser numbers also follow the ridgeline north in the spring. Due to its significance as a premier raptor migration corridor, the Audubon Society has named Kittatinny Ridge as one of six global Important Bird Areas in the state.
Audubon has been involved with the site since 2000, although hawk migration statistics at Waggoner's Gap date back to 1952. Hike the short trail to the top of the rocks and you will find avid bird watchers recording hawk sightings, snapping photos or just enjoying the view. There are sixteen species of birds that are counted each year, including Turkey Vultures, Coopers Hawks, Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Broad-Winged Hawks, Red Tail Hawks, Golden Eagles, and Bald Eagles. Visit during the last two weeks of September for peak migration counts, where over 5,000 Broad-Winged Hawks have been spotted in just one day!
If you're not a birding enthusiast, the site is still worth the visit as it offers stunning views. Although you'll feel totally remote standing at the peak of the rocks, you are just a short, 15-minute drive from downtown Carlisle. The vista, rising 1,535 feet above the Valley, is a gift, allowing you to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the Cumberland Valley. If you're lucky enough to enjoy repeat visits through the years, you'll be able to see a bird's eye view of how our landscape develops and changes.