NYS-DEC Winter Raptor Survey

Volunteer with NYSDEC Region 8 to monitor wintering raptors

If you love birdwatching and want to be a part of a conservation effort, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Winter Raptor Surveys are for you!

Our goal is to identify habitat used by threatened Northern harriers (Circus hudsonius) and endangered Short-eared owls (Asio flammeus). This is accomplished during their non-breeding, wintering period. We record ALL raptors seen or heard (owls, hawks, vultures, falcons, and eagles).

Stationary surveys are completed on a bi-weekly schedule from mid-November to late April.

Survey sites are located across the eleven counties that make up DEC’s region 8 (Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates). The survey is a one-and-a-half-hour commitment beginning one hour before sunset and ending thirty minutes after the sunset.

We run on our volunteer’s schedules so there is no pressure or mandatory number of surveys that you need to complete. You are welcome to participate in as many or as few surveys as your schedule allows.

Throughout the season, we hold virtual volunteer meetings where folks can discuss all things raptors. There are also three optional, in-person gatherings where you can meet other birders and enjoy tasty treats prior to heading out for a survey.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a brand-new birder, all are welcome to participate. Volunteers would need to use their own set of binoculars for surveys.

Email DEC wildlife technician, Elena Greco, to learn more or to get involved in the Winter Raptor Surveys (elena.greco@dec.ny.gov). We hope to see you soon!

Elena Greco
Wildlife Technician 1, Division of Fish & Wildlife
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
6274 E. Avon-Lima Road, Avon, NY 14414
Office: (585) 226-5458, Cell: (585) 764-7627