The best time to see the most hawks is when they are migrating. The greatest numbers are seen in the fall at most locations. Looking at hawks in flight quickly reveals the limitations of standard birding field guides. Often you will see little more than a dark silhouette moving through a lighter sky. Colors, and frequently patterns of contrast, might not be visible. What you can see are relative size, shape, and behavior. This has led to the development of introductory silhouette guides and the special flight identification guides that are very helpful in the field.

The purpose of this guide is to help you identify the resources on hawks that might be best for you, especially resources on identification and migration. The general recommendation is to first purchase Clark & Wheeler’s Field Guide to Hawks of North America (see below) and obtain one or more silhouette guides. After hawk watching a time or two, select one or more flight identification guides. They each have different strengths.

All books except the Field Guide to Hawks may be difficult to find in regular bookstores. Several Mass Audubon shops carry some of these publications; most are also available through Audubon's Drumlin Farm Gift Shop in Lincoln. Some books are out of print but are available inexpensively online through used book dealers.

To download a free copy of the Silhouette Guide or to purchase a laminated copy please see:

Laminated copies of the Silhouette Guide will be available for sale at the 2013 EMHW meeting.

"Click" on either image above for a larger version of the Silhouette Guide

Free Hawk Identification Materials Online

Books on Hawk Identification

DVDs on Hawk Identification & Migration

Advanced Reading on Hawks & Migration

Additional Online Resources on Hawks

The Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project

Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch, 2013
To contact EMHW, email
EMHW, PO Box 663, Newburyport, MA 01950
updated 05/26/2013