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Wildcat Ridge Hawkwatch History

The Wildcat Ridge Hawkwatch was founded in 1997. Prior to starting this watch, a 10-year study was done in the Rockaway Valley below this new site. That site was called the Boonton Hawkwatch. This newer site has the advantage of overseeing the valley, plus it has a vista of over 190 degrees and a 40-plus mile view. The view to the east includes the Manhattan skyline.

In the spring of 1996, the first section of the Four Birds Trail (part of the Farny Highlands Trail Network) opened. This trail winds through the open spaces in the Farny Highlands Region, including Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area and Farny State Park. When completed, this trail network will link watershed lands, wildlife management areas, and state and county parks.

In January 1997, it was suggested that one of the overlooks on that trail become a hawkwatch, sanctioned and coordinated by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). Through the efforts of the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife and the Morris Land Conservancy, the hawkwatch became a reality.

Once the leading iron mining area of the country, the area is now provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including some threatened and endangered species. The are black bears, bobcats, otters, timber rattlesnakes, wood turtle & porcupine among the wildlife species here. A wide variety of plants can also be found.

About thirty-four species of birds breed in the area, as well as seven species of hawks, and six species of owls. Sixteen species of hawks migrate through the valley, and most can be seen during the spring & fall flights. Spring and fall records are archived at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2008
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: July 9, 2008