Raptor Population Index

Raptor Population Index


The RPI Partnership was initiated between HMANA, HawkWatch International and Hawk Mountain with a mission to contribute to the conservation, knowledge, and public understanding of raptors and raptor migration through a collaborative population monitoring program that produces conservation assessments and scientifically defensible population trends derived from counts of migrating raptors.

The three partners started a 3-year pilot project, designed to launch this long-term raptor population monitoring program.

A management committee, representing all partners, and a science advisory committee were appointed.

Early RPI Management Team

Steve Hoffman

David J.T. Hussell, Ph.D.

Kirk Moulton

Jeff Smith, Ph.D.

Will Weber, Ph.D.

Keith Bildstein, Ph.D.

David Mizrahi, Ph.D.

Jeff Smith, Ph.D.

Early Science Advisory Committee

Jonathan Bart, Ph.D.

Keith L. Bildstein, Ph.D.

Chris Farmer, Ph.D.

Charles M. Francis, Ph.D.

Mark R. Fuller, Ph.D.

Laurie J. Goodrich, M.S.

David J.T. Hussell, Ph.D.

Additional RPI Steering and Science Advisory Committee members

instrumental in the project 2003-present:

Erica Dunn, Ph.D.

Tara Crewe

Denis Lepage

Markus Mika, Ph.D.

David Brandes, Ph.D.

Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza

Casey Lott

Bruce Peterjohn, Ph.D.

Jason Sodergren

Iain MacLeod

Jonathan Bart

Charles M. Francis

Steven T. Kelling

John Smallwood, Ph.D.

At the onset, methodology and other decisions were discussed in annual two-day meetings held at Hawk Mountain, or during regular conference calls, and later one-day meetings at partner sites. The long-term datasets used for RPI are archived as part of the HawkCount monitoring network. HawkCount.org was created in 2000 to archive migration data collected by HMANA-affiliated sites, evolving from the reporting method created by Jason Sodergren for a single site, Holiday Beach Observatory. Data for more than 300 hawk watches in North America are now entered and available on HawkCount.


-June 2004, RPI receives its first funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation which was matched 2:1

from non-government donations raised by the partners.

2004 to 2011

-Eyes on the Skies publication was produced annually to promote RPI results and raise match money


-Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza was hired as HMANA RPI Director

-Baillie Fund grant awarded to RPI


-US Fish and Wildlife Service, Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grant

-American Bird Conservancy, Northeastern Coordinated Bird Monitoring grant


-RPI’s first analysis released: State of North American Birds of Prey Book

This is the first continental-scale assessment of the status of raptors in North America. The report contained population trend data for 18 species monitored in 22 localities in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, as well as a comprehensive conservation status reports for each of them, which combined the robust insight of migration counts with data from other sources such as the Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Counts.


-RPI receives a 2-year grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Legacy Grants Program to transform RPI into a powerful decision-support tool for wildlife management and conservation.


-Birds Canada joins as partner and takes over the statistical analysis from Hawk Mountain.

-Julie Brown hired as RPI Site Coordinator.

-RPI is awarded a Partners in Flight Leadership Award at a national bird conservation meeting “for contributions toward bird conservation and demonstrating outstanding guidance and direction that contribute to advancing PIF conservation efforts”.


-Cedar Tree Foundation grant supports RPI efforts


-RPI completes second analysis using 48 sites. RPI website created with updated analysis, regional species assessments and trend maps

-NFWF grant funding ends, partners agree to continue analyses using own resources.

-Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza leaves RPI/HMANA


-RPI’s third analysis utilizing 50 sites. Like the 2011 analysis, the website featured trend graphs for each species and trend maps.


-RPI completes its fourth analysis using 63 datasets featuring species trend graphs, trend maps and pie charts by region.


-RPI’s fifth analysis is completed using data from 77 sites through 2019 including updated trend graphs, trend maps, 10-year regional trend pie charts with species status assessments provided. A grant is obtained to improve the website and conduct outreach.

Current Partners:

Birds Canada, Hawk Mountain, HawkWatch International, Hawk Migration Association of North America.

Current Steering Committee for RPI:

Dave Oleyar, HawkWatch International, Co-Chair

Laurie Goodrich, Hawk Mountain, Co-Chair

Danielle Ethier, Birds Canada

David Brandes, Julie Brown, Jason Sodergren, HMANA