Pilgrim Heights Hawk Watch

Northern Harrier © Shawn P. Carey, Migration Productions
Northern Harrier © Shawn P. Carey, (Migration Productions)

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Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary has been conducting a hawk watch in Truro since 1998 in partnership with Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch. We monitor the spring hawk migration over Pilgrim Heights, with permission from the Cape Cod National Seashore.

While counts have occurred at this site and at other locations on the Outer Cape in the past, we have formalized the efforts in order to provide more consistent data. This data can then be used to keep track of how populations of the different species of hawks are doing.

We share our data with other hawk watches through the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) and on our website. 

Timing of Seasonal Counts

The count starts in early March and runs through June. However, the peak season for migrant raptors at Pilgrim Heights is traditionally during mid April through mid May. Flights are best during mornings before noon and on days that feature winds from a southerly direction.

Directions to Pilgrim Heights Hawk Watch

Pilgrim Heights is located in North Truro on the east side of Route 6 within the Cape Cod National Seashore. Look for the brown and white park sign "Pilgrim Heights." Follow the driveway to the first parking lot. Take the Smalls Swamp Trail to the second overlook.