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Red-tailed Hawk and Mt. Baker

Hawk Watching In Western Washington Classes 2023

I have just returned from a 2-week trip to Veracruz, Mexico to experience the annual raptor migration. The Veracruz River of Raptors is the largest raptor migration in the world. Because of the area’s geography, raptors from all across North America converge here on their migration to their wintering grounds further south. On average, 4.5 million raptors pass through here every fall. It is an unparalleled experience.

Now that I am home I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of raptors from north of us that spend their winter here on the Samish and Skagit Flats!

I will be offering two options for my my five-week class, Hawk Watching in Western Washington. The in-person class will begin on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. It will be offered at Padilla Bay Research Interpretive Center from 7-9 pm.
I will also be offering the class via Zoom which starts on Wednesday, January 11 from 7-9 pm.

Please read on for more info!

Join Sue Cottrell for a five-session class, “Hawk Watching in Western Washington”. 

This class will teach you about the 15 species of diurnal raptors that can be found in western WA, emphasizing field identification and the particularly fascinating element of winter behavior. It will also cover raptor terminology, migration, the daily and annual cycle, birding ethics, equipment and birding guides. Instructor Sue Cottrell has studied raptors and guided outdoor trips for over 30 years, and has a vast knowledge of local raptor populations.

The 5-week class at Padilla Bay Center begins at 7 and runs approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours, starting on Tuesday, January 10. It will include a one-day field trip, which is a great opportunity for students to practice identifying raptors in the field with Sue’s expertise and assistance. This area is nationally recognized for harboring hundreds of wintering birds of prey. The cost is $175 per person.

The Zoom class begins at 7 pm and runs approximately 1 1/2- 2 hours, starting on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. Classes will be recorded and available for viewing until 2 weeks after the last class. The cost is $100 per person. If these folks are interested in a field trip, contact me to see if there will be space available. Or you can request a field trip if you have a minimum of 6 people.

To complete your registration, send check, along with email address and phone number to Raptor Studies NW, P.O. Box 85, Bow, WA 98232. Or, new this year, pay by PayPal.

Contact Sue at with any questions.

From Bud Anderson of the Falcon Research Group September 2019 -

"After 36 years, it is time for me to move on from teaching the Hawkwatching in Western Washington course that I have enjoyed so much. 

Thank you to everyone for supporting it over these many years.

However, I recognize that there is obviously still a continuing need for a hawk ID class out there. 

Therefore, I have been working with my friend and colleague, Sue Cottrell, over the last few years to pass the torch on to her.

As many of you know, Sue is an excellent hawkwatcher and is intimately acquainted with the Skagit Flats. She is more than qualified to helm the class in future years.

I encourage you all to support, learn and enjoy hawks with her.

Good hawkwatching and thank you all,