How Do I Record and Report Migration Data?

Recording Hawk Migration Data

The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) has established guidelines for data collection at hawk watch sites, so that sites are collecting the same types of data in a format that can be entered into the computer database and be easily compared and analyzed. Go to Pg-1 Instructions for Recording and Reporting Hawk Count Data / Pg-2 Definitions for Data Forms / Pg-3 Eastern Mass Hawk Watch Field Recording Sheet

When looking for hawks in the field, we recommend you record the data for HMANA one of two ways. First, you can record all your data by day and hour in a field notebook that you carry with you to the site. This can be particularly convenient if you are hiking some distance to a site. The second alternative is to use the Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch Daily Field Form, which means taking a number of sheets, ideally on a clipboard, to your watch site. Whichever recording means you prefer, you should always carry a Field Recording Sheet and the Definitions for Data Forms with you into the field. Using the various codes can seem tedious, even challenging at first, but after you record parameters for several days it will become second nature to you.

The Daily Report Form (DRF)

The HMANA Daily Report Form (DRF) used by hawk watchers throughout North America is available in two versions, one for Excel and one in PDF format. If you have Excel-compatible software on your computer, you can use the Excel version, which enables you to submit your report forms electronically as an email attachment. This allows us to incorporate your data directly into our overall database without anyone reentering your numbers from a printed form.

If you do not have Excel-compatible software, you can use the PDF version: HMANA Daily Report Form.

DRF Instructions

The report form instructions are contained in two simple text files you can download and read with any word-processing software. They provide explanations for the reporting codes and information on how to submit your forms to EMHW. Pg-1 Instructions for Recording and Reporting Hawk Count Data / Pg-2 Definitions For Data Forms

Fill in your report as soon as possible and send it to Paul Roberts, 254 Arlington St., Medford, 02155 or email it to Paul at

If you are using Excel, it would be greatly appreciated if you would send your reports in as Excel files, preferably as an email attachment, so they can be directly incorporated into our data base.

Please note: Submitting a DRF of your observations, no matter how few birds you saw, means your information will contribute to the continent-wide database and will be available to researchers. There is still so much to be learned about hawk migration, every scrap of information adds to our knowledge of the birds’ movements through our area. The form only takes a couple of minutes to fill out, and isn’t as difficult as it might look.

If you don’t report your sightings on a DRF, you may have had a personally enjoyable experience, but you will not have contributed to the study and preservation of these wonderful birds.

The Next Steps

If you are covering one of the established sites (Wachusett, Watatic, Pinnacle, Pilgrim Heights or Plum) email your report to the site coordinator, who will enter your report on HawkCount. If you covered a different site, send email your report to If you have an unusually large count or any unusual species during a spring or fall flight, call 339-222-0197 and leave a message as to what you saw (count by species), where and when (date & time of day). Please provide your name and a phone number where we can reach you if you have not reported previously this season.

Find out what happens to your reports >