14 Stunning Hawk Migration Sites in Massachusetts

Where to watch hawk migration in Massachusetts

Hawk watching is nothing like normal birdwatching. When most birds are resting on the ground, trees, or in water, they’re easiest to observe and appreciate. Hawks, on the other hand, bring the most joy and thrill when they are in the air, soaring, flapping, or gliding in spectacular panoramic views.

Hawks are visible in large numbers during migration in the spring and fall. Although the spring hawk migration is enjoyable, the fall migration offers the most spectacular views and the largest number of hawks. 

Many hawk species migrate through Massachusetts every year, and if you don’t want to miss out, this article is just for you. Here we’ll share the best hawk migration sites in Massachusetts.

By the end of this list of 14 fascinating hawk watching sites, you should be able to decide which one you want to visit. So, without further ado, let’s get started! 

Wachusett Mountain – The Best Haw Migration Site in Massachusetts

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Dates: Aug 20- Nov 20

Address: Mount Wachusett, Princeton, MA 01541

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin

Wachusett Mountain is one of the most renowned hawk watching sites in Massachusetts. The site is run entirely by volunteers. The good news is that you can drive to the summit since the road opens at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day through the last Sunday in October. The Pine Hill Trail is the shortest and steepest way to the peak when the road is closed, taking around 20 minutes.

The newly-established 80-foot Fire Tower is the centerpiece of $8.4 million rehabilitation and enhancement project that offers a 12-foot high observation deck. This platform provides breathtaking unrestricted views in all directions. Both hawk watchers and leaf peepers will enjoy the sights!

The new fire tower on the northeast edge of the summit, which scans the sky from Gardner in the northwest, to Boston in the east, and Worcester in the south, is the best observation spot in the fall. It’s also worth stopping at the Oxbow, which is a short walk walk from the Visitor Center.

Directions: In Westminster, take Route 2 to Route 140 (south). Follow Route 140 south to Wachusett Lake, turn right onto Mile Hill Road and follow the signs to Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. Drive past the ski area to the reservation gate on the right, which is halfway up the mountain. 

To your left is the Visitor Center. Turn right onto the all-weather road to the peak as soon as you enter the reservation. At the summit parking area, you’ll find portable restrooms.

Mount Watatic

Spring dates: Jan 1- Jan 1

Fall dates: Aug 31- Dec 1

Address: Mt Watatic, Ashburnham, MA 01430

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin

Mount Watatic in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, has become one of New England’s premier hawk watching sites. The journey to the location is quite long and steep, meaning that there’s no traffic and only a few people at the watch on any given day. 

East Watatic is a fantastic place to go hawk watching in the fall. Volunteers cover both the spring and fall migratory seasons.

Pinnacle Rock

hawk migration sites in Massachusetts

Dates: Sep 15- Nov 20

Address: 372 Summer St, Malden, MA 02148

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel

Pinnacle Rock is a coastal hawk watching site located in the southeast corner of the Middlesex Reservation in Malden, Massachusetts. It is roughly 250 feet above sea level and offers clear views. 

Because it is so close to Boston, hawks flying down the coast frequently pass right over it as they change their flight path to the southwest to avoid Boston, giving all hawk watchers the views of their dreams.

Mount Tom, Massachusetts

Spring dates: Apr 15- Apr 25

Fall dates: Sep 10- Oct 10

Address: Mt Tom, Holyoke, MA 01040

Birds you’ll see: Sharp-shinned hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel.

This place, located near Holyoke, Massachusetts, has stunning views of the Connecticut River Valley. The ideal observation point during fall is Goat’s Peak Tower, which has an elevation of 1202 ft. One thing you may not like about Mount Tom is that it’s necessary to climb the tower. 

The tower can get crowded on weekends during migration season. If that’s the case, consider visiting Skinner State Park, located across the Connecticut River from Mount Tom.

Barre Falls

Spring dates: Mar 25- May 7

Fall dates: Sep 1- Nov 30

Address: Barre Falls, Barre, MA 01452

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, sharp-shinned hawk, cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine falcon

The Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the Barre Falls Dam, owns the area where the Barre Falls Hawk Watch is located in Barre, Massachusetts. The location is in a south-facing field on the side of a hill with views of the Ware River valley. There’s a 180-degree view to the east to enjoy.

Directions: Travel west on Route 62 for approximately 3 miles from the intersection of Routes 68 and 62 in Hubbardston, MA. Turn left onto Barre/Coldbrook Road at the US Army Corps of Engineers sign. Proceed 1/2 mile south to the left-hand paved parking lot. This parking area is where the hawk watch is conducted.

Plum Island, MA

Dates: Mar 15-May 15

Address: Plum Island, Massachusetts

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, Northern harrier, cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, American kestrel, Merlin

The Plum Island Hawk Watch is located in the Parker River Wildlife Refuge’s parking lot #1 on Plum Island in Newburyport, Massachusetts, about 32 miles northeast of Boston. It’s a volunteer-run spring hawk watching site open to visitors from mid-March to the middle of May.

The site was established in 1942 mainly to offer migratory birds a safe haven to feed and rest. It’s an important stopover for shorebirds and songbirds throughout their pre-and post-breeding migratory phases.

Alander Mountain

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Dates: Sep 1- Nov 30

Address: Alander Mountain, Mt Washington, MA 01258

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, sharp-shinned hawk, broad-winged hawk, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel

Alander Mountain is a peak located in the southern Taconic Mountains in southwest Massachusetts and nearby New York, with a height of 2,239 feet. 

Directions: From the parking area, continue past the shelter on the Alander Mountain trail. Take a right 100′ past the shelter to get to the ridge top. To get a 270-degree view of the north, walk five minutes to the right (north).

Bare Mountain

Dates: Sep 1- Nov 11

Address: Bare Mountain, Amherst, Massachusetts

Birds you’ll see: Sharp-shinned hawk, broad-winged hawk, Osprey

Bare Mountain is a 1.1-mile out-and-back trail near Amherst, Massachusetts. The Bare Mountain hawk watch began in the 1990s. It’s blessed with a beautiful forest setting. Hiking, walking, and wildlife visits are the most popular activities on the trail. 

Park at the Mount Holyoke State Park Notch Visitor Center on Route 116 to get to the location. The peak is reached after a 10-minute hike to the east.

Blueberry Hill

Dates: Sep 1- Dec 1

Address: Granville, Massachusetts, USA

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, sharp-shinned hawk, cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine falcon

Blueberry Hill is the highest hilltop among a range of hills, with a 360-degree vista. The location is 8 miles west of the Connecticut River Valley’s western ridgeline, running north and south. Its name is derived from the overlook surrounded by low blueberry fields. 

Directions: Take Exit 3 (Rte 5 north / Agawam) off Interstate 91, then turn right onto Rte 57 west. Drive fifteen miles through Feeding Hills and Southwick to get to Granville’s center. After four miles on Rte 57 west, turn right onto North Lane. Go 1.4 miles and park at the Phelon Forest Preserve’s parking lot. From the end of the parking lot, walk up the trail for about five minutes to a pair of concrete slabs that serve as observation platforms.

Head of the Meadow Beach

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Dates: Mar 15- July 1

Address: Head of the Meadow Beach, Truro, MA 02657

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, sharp-shinned hawk, cooper’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine falcon

The Head of the Meadow Beach Hawk Watch is located on Cape Cod, about 100 miles southeast of Boston, in the town of North Truro. It’s the only official site on Cape Cod and is located within the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Directions: Driving up Head of the Meadow Road and turning left onto Holden Road will bring you to the Cape Cod National Seashore parking lot. People gather at the far end of the parking lot to watch spectacular hawk migrations. 

During late March to June, the location is open for spring migration. The busiest migration days have historically occurred in the final week of April and the first week of May.

Mount Holyoke Summit – Skinner State Park

Dates: Sep 1- Nov 20

Address: 195 Skinner State Park Rd, Hadley, MA 01035

Birds you’ll see: Turkey vulture, sharp-shinned hawk, broad-winged hawk, red-tailed hawk

The Summit House there offers 360-degree views from its wrap-around veranda. The Connecticut River offers spectacular vistas to visitors.

Congamond Plains

Dates: Mar 1- May 1

Address: 93 Point Grove Rd, Southwick, MA 01077

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel

Congamond Plains is in Southwick in fields between Suffield Mt and Huckleberry Hill. During the fall and spring, it’s a volunteer-run location with sporadic coverage by official hawk counters.

Pilgrim Heights

Dates: Mar 1- Jan 15

Address: Pilgrim Heights, Truro, MA 02657

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine falcon.

The Pilgrim Heights Hawk Watch is in North Truro, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, about 100 miles southeast of Boston. The place is the only formal site on Cape Cod and is located within the Cape Cod National Seashore. The site is located on a trail that is only accessible by foot. The best time to see the most migrating raptors in flight is typically the final week of April and the first week of May.

Directions: Pilgrim Heights is in North Truro, on the east side of Route 6, just north of the Truro-Provincetown town line, and is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. You’ll need to take Small’s Swamp Trail to the second overlook from the first parking lot. It’s a short walk down the trail, about a half-mile from the parking area.

Shatterack Mountain

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Dates: Sep 1- Nov 30

Address: Shatterack Mountain, Montgomery, MA 01085

Birds you’ll see: Osprey, turkey vulture, bald eagle, Northern harrier, cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, Merlin

Shatterack Mountain, at 1138 ft, is a high point in Massachusetts where you can observe many hawk species starting from September and ending at the end of November. Shatterack Mountain lies near the Westfield River Reservoir, southwest of Montgomery.

FAQs about Hawk Migration to Massachusetts

What types of hawks can I see in Massachusetts?

There are eight different hawk species that Massachusetts is known for: sharp-shinned hawk, cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, Northern Harrier, and Northern Goshawk.

What is the most common hawk in Massachusetts?

The red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk in Massachusetts.

Check out our favorite free hawk identification guides here.

More Hawk Migration Locations

The list is awe-striking but there’s still more hawk-watching sites that you need to jot down on your bucket list! Check out these other hawk migration sites awaiting your visit !

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