Goschute Mountains, NV , Pisgah Peak, Hawk Watch Migration Site


Sep 10, 2021
Goschute Mountains, NV , Pisgah Peak, Hawk Watch Migration Site

The Goschute Mountain location for Hawk Watch International is located on Pisgah Peak in the Goshute Range of Nevada, just south orf Wendover. It is about a 3 hour drive from Salt Lake City. Hawk Watch is a non-profit located in Salt Lake City. HWI’s mission is to conserve the environment through education, long term monitoring and scientific research on raptors as indicators of eecosystem health.

The site is operated from early August through the begining of November. A five team crew count species that travel along this ridge top raptor migration route. During the fall 2023 migration, over 18,000 raptors were counted at this site and over 600 raptors were banded. The site is at 9,000 ft on a sky island in the Nevada. The Ruby Mountains were visible to the west and the Bonneville Speedway, salt flats and Wendover could be seen to the north-east.

I was fortunate to be one of the team members that year. As a retired engineer, I was the only non-wildlife professional on staff. I have been volunteering as an Education Docent for Hawk Watch, which involves using our permitted raptors who cannot be returned to the wild to provide raptor education and exposure for the public and schools. I also. I also spent considerable time the previous year at the Commissary Ridge Migration Site north of Kemmerrer, WY.

I lived 3 months in a tent and was able to observe the local wildlife community in greater depth than I am able to when backpacking. There were local Kestrel & Peregrine Falcons, Coopers & Red Tail Hawks and a Saw Whet Owl. Elk and mule deer would wonder through the meadow where I camped. The meadow was quite spectacular as it does not get impacted by a domestic animal grazing. Wild horses and an occasional antelope could be seen on the flats below our peak.

I am adding this trip report as this site is a great weekend backpack to experience a sky island and a raptor migration site, It has the greatest number of birds for any site in the Western US. Additional information can be found on the Hawk Watch Website. Mid to late September is a great time as this is peak time for many species.

Following are photos from the observation area where we have a team counting birds each day and photos of a few of the birds that were banded or local to the area.IMG_5016.jpeg
Above is a merlin that was banded at site and is about to be released.
Below is a view east from the observation point, the salt flats are visible and Wendover is out of site to the left.
View SE from camp.
View north from a vantage south of Pisgah Peak. Pisgah Peak is the high point.
A close up of a Norther Goshwak.
A juvenile sharp shinned hawk about to be released after banding.
An adult Red Tail Hawk about be released.
Above is a Coopers Hawk outfitted with a radio transmitter that allow its location to be tracked.
Above is the Hawk Watch Migration Team at Goshute.


Here I am releasing an adult Red Tail Hawk.


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Nice... Done a lot of deer and elk hunting out there and in the deep creeks
That looks like a beautiful area and beautiful birds. That sounds like an interesting experience, thanks for sharing
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