Golden Eagle Image by Dave Brandes
Accurate knowledge of population status and change is fundamental for bird conservation.
The Raptor Population Index (RPI) is a collaborative effort to understand and share trends and conservation status of migratory raptors in North America, continent-wide and regionally. Each year thousands of people gather on ridgelines, coastlines, and other concentration points across the globe to watch migrating raptors during the fall and spring. This awe inspiring event provides a fun and accessible point of entry to bird watching and in-flight identification to the public, while also generating decades of standardized monitoring data from sites across North America. These count data also have value for those interested in the status and conservation of raptors.
The RPI Partnership between Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA), HawkWatch International, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, and Birds Canada has a mission to contribute to the conservation, knowledge, and public understanding of raptors and raptor migration through a collaborative population monitoring program that produces conservation assessments and scientifically defensible population trends derived from counts of migrating raptors.
RPI uses data from partnering sites that submit their data to Hawkcount.org and also meet longevity and protocol requirements in a standard and robust way (for more see methodology). The RPI team analyzes data every three years. The 2019 update data represent 43,455 hours of observation and 8,897,955 migrants counted. Annual index values for each species at a count site are also available for use by the conservation community at large.
RPI launched in 2004 and partners include: the Hawk Migration Association of North America, HawkWatch International, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, and Birds Canada.