Smith Point HawkWatch
Project Partners: Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Hawk Watch International
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
One of the great spectacles in nature is a sky full of swirling raptors soaring their way to central and South America for winter. Smith Point on the eastern shore of Galveston Bay is a natural concentration point for southwardly moving raptors in fall migration. At the peak of fall migration, it's not unusual to see thousands of Broad-winged Hawks, the most numerous species that migrates through Smith Point, on a single day. The Smith Point Hawk Watch was originated as an all-volunteer, part-time effort in 1992. In 1997, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in partnership with Hawk Watch International and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department instituted a full-time, three-month an annual census of the raptors migrating through Smith Point each fall.
Broad-winged Hawk Kettle (9/19/09) Tower visitor's (9/24/11)
photos by Joe Kennedy
The Hawk Watch is held daily at the Candy Abshier Wildlife Management Area where GCBO has a 30 foot observation tower. The hawk watch is staffed daily from 8 AM to 4 PM. You are invited to come out any day during the season. We are in need of volunteer hawk counters! If you could volunteer one day a week, or even one day a month, it would be a great! To volunteer, please contact Susan Heath at (979) 480-0999.
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Coastal Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Union Pacific Railroad
Chambers County Judge and Commissioners Court
Ornithology Group of the Houston Outdoor Club
Chevron HumanKind Matching Gift Program
Ann Abshier and Jerry Blackstone
Deep South Marine
Bill & Lauri Baker
Pearl Ruth King
Totals by species and year (1997-2013)
Daily counts by year
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
How To Get To The Smith Point Hawk Watch Tower at Candy Abshier WMA:
To reach Smith Point from Houston, take I-10 east to the Texas Hwy 61 exit. Turn south (right) on Hwy 61. In a few miles it changes number to FM 562 and continues south to Smith Point. At the intersection of FM 1985, which branches left at a Y intersection, continue right to Smith Point. Once in Smith Point continue on 562 past a small store/gas station (now closed) on the right. Hawkins Camp Road, another half mile farther on, leads to The Spoonbill RV Park and Lodge. The hawk tower is just past the intersection of 562 and Hawkins Camp Road where a sign directs you to the left and into the large parking area.
For information on birding and other nature activities in Chambers County, check out the Chamberswild website.
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