Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Nebraska Bird Review Vol. 87 No. 4 (2019), pp 138-147


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County, north of Crescent, Iowa, is home to the Hitchcock HawkWatch and Raptor Banding Project. The Nature Center is in the heart of the Loess Hills which, together with the flat expanse of the Missouri River Valley to the west, provides the perfect conditions for creating the updraft that aids migrating birds. The Hawkwatch began in 1992, and every fall from September through December, birds-of-prey enthusiasts gather on the 45-foot observation tower to watch and count thousands of eagles, hawks, and other raptors as they migrate south. Every year since 2007, Sandy Reinken and I have banded raptors at Hitchcock, and each of the 13 seasons has had unusual situations and challenges. The fall of 2019 was no exception.