History of the NPH
An ideal location for raptor observation
Beamer Memorial Conservation Area has a long served as an important location for monitoring the annual migration of raptors. The site’s position located atop the Niagara Escarpment on the south shore of Lake Ontario ensures that many migrants are funnelled past the site and provides an excellent vantage point for observers.
In 1975, Dave Copeland took on the effort of organizing the site’s first formal count, with help from several prominent regional birders. In March of 1990, the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch was officially formed with Bruce Duncan as the first President, helping to establish the watch and Beamer as prominent fixtures in the annual monitoring of North American raptors.
Monitoring and conservation
Since the establishment of the NPH, the organization has promoted the conservation and study of raptors through organization of volunteers, open houses, newsletters, and outreach. Through the dedicated efforts of countless volunteers, the organization has created hourly spring observation records for nearly all years since its inception, serving as a powerful record of the region’s ecological history.
Improvements & the future
In 1998, to help observers spot hawks over the growing trees at Beamer, an observation tower was installed through kind donations from Co-Steel Recycling Hamilton, and assistance from the Canada Trust Friends of the Environment Foundation (Grimsby) and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. This tower now stands as a key fixture at Beamer Memorial, and a constant reminder of the site’s role as an important part of North America’s hawkwatch network and the best site in the region to view the natural spectacle of migration.