LogoHoliday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) is a Registered Charitable volunteer organization dedicated to the study and monitoring of migratory birds.  Activities focus on migration of raptors (diurnal birds of prey), passerines (songbirds) and other species passing through southwestern Ontario in the vicinity of Holiday Beach Conservation Area.  Learn more!

Spring Event at Holiday Beach

Join us for our annual spring meeting on Saturday April 13, 2019. Come and experience the tremendous diversity of marsh life during spring migration and learn why Holiday Beach is designated as an Important Bird Arena (IBA).   Paul Pratt will lead a birding tour starting at the hawk tower at 8:30 am. Afterwards we will provide a coffee break at 10:30 at the HBMO headquarters (old park store). This will be  followed by a short presentation of highlights from the past year and election of board members for 2019.

Hawk Fest 2018 – September 15/16 & 22/23

Join us for this year’s Festival of Hawks on the weekends of September 15/16 & 22/23 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area. The festival runs from 9am to 3pm each day. A variety of activities will take place throughout the festival weekends.

To download the 2018 Festival of Hawks Schedule for weekends 1 & 2, click here.

Free educational programs will compliment the ongoing banding and live hawk display throughout both weekends. Local experts will be on-site to teach on a wide range of birding and nature-related topics. These programs include:

  • HBMO’s Bob Pettit will share his years of experience on identifying hawks in flights.
  • Ted Kloske, of Henry’s Windsor and Maple Grove Studios, Glenn Gervais, of Southshore Outdoor Photography, and Alex Denonville will help budding photographers get their best nature shot.
  • Learn about the mystery of the iconic monarch butterfly with Gina Pannunzio of ERCA, and Paul Desjardins of Essex County Nature.
  • HBMO’s Jeremy Hatt will share his tips and tricks on using mobile applications like iNaturalist

Programs are free with the festival admission fee of $15 per vehicle.


HMANA Conference – Registration now Open!

We are excited to invite you to HMANA’s conference this fall in Detroit, MI. Registration is now open! We hope you will join us.

Hawk Migration Association of North America Conference, Soaring Toward the Future: New Challenges in Raptor Migration – October 12-14, 2018, Detroit Metro Airport Marriott, MI

Register before August 31 to take advantage of early-bird rates!

Book your hotel room at the conference venue by September 20 to take advantage of discounted conference rates!

A stellar lineup of speakers and presenters includes two keynote presenters:

Kate Davis opens the conference with her keynote presentation on the 1700 live-bird programs she’s held over 30 years with Raptors of the Rockies (http://www.raptorsoftherockies.org/

Todd Katzner is the Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist with the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Boise, ID, and will present his Golden Eagle research during our Saturday night banquet.

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Eastern Hawk ID Program – New Downloads

DSC_0054Learn to identify hawks in flight during with the Eastern Hawk ID Program. Identifying a hawk in flight is different than characterizing a perched bird. With practice, patience, and long hours of observation the skills of flight identification can be learned.

To learn more and to download the updated presentation in PowerPoint, Keynote, and PDF formats, click here.

41 years and counting

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory hawk count surpasses 3,000,000!

HBMO is headquartered at the Holiday Beach Conservation Area (HBCA)
in the Big Creek Marsh watershed. This internationally recognized
Important Bird Area, IBA ON034, is owned and operated by Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).

The Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) is a volunteer, non-profit membership organization formed in 1986 to promote the study and protection of migrating birds.

Through research and education programs and undertaking various projects, HBMO strives to contribute to the greater understanding of migration and conservation of birds and insects and their habitats. Holiday Beach is ranked as the top hawk watching site in Canada by Audubon Magazine, and the third best in all of North America.
Holiday Beach Migration Observatory is proud to announce that the new milestone was reached last Thursday, September 25/2014. This is our 41st year of counting and record keeping from the 1st of September through to the end of November.

Thanks to our volunteers and public support we will continue our work for many more years to come.


HBMO & The Canadian Snow Bunting Network

Snow-Bunting-toesHBMO banders represent a key SW Ontario banding node of the Canadian Snow Bunting Network (CSBN). The CSBN is administered by Dr. Oliver Love’s lab at the University of Windsor and represents a network of over 200 citizen, academic and government scientists working together to determine the health and demographics of wintering Canadian Snow Bunting populations. This Arctic-breeding species is in steep decline in North America and yet nothing is known regarding the reasons behind the population variability. Winter monitoring of this iconic Canadian species currently represents the best way to understand the dynamics of multiple populations and volunteer banders play a key and pivotal role in this conservation effort.

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