High Park is a 164 hectare park in southcentral Toronto and is characterised by a dominant Black Oak Savannah. Hawk Hill is located at the centre of the park on a small knoll just north of the Grenadier Restaurant at an elevation of 38 metres above Lake Ontario, 1.25 kilometres to the south. The co–ordinates are 17623746 E and 4833730 N. Hawk Hill benefits from the size and the quality of the surrounding parkland habitat and also the encouragement and support of the Toronto Parks Department.
Observers in High Park are seeing autumn raptor migration which consists of southbound birds which, on meeting the obstacle of Lake Ontario, turn westward and follow the Lake Ontario shoreline.
The location of distinct incoming raptors is often described by their position over the background of the downtown Toronto office towers and minutes later by their position over the tall Oaks and Pines of High Park. High Park has the distinction of being one of the very few major raptor monitoring sites operating in the centre of a large urban environment. Access is recommended by subway, streetcar or automobile with every–day entrance off Bloor Street and week–day access off Parkside Drive.
While the primary objective of the hawk watch is to enjoy and monitor the fall raptor migration, there is a public participation element which is encouraged and respected. In all years there has been an enthusiastic group of observers contributing to the spotting, identification and counting of incoming raptors. The High Park Hawk Watch welcomes all visitors and active participants to what has become a very popular destination in High Park.
Weekly totals throughout the season are posted on the ONTBIRDS listserv. Monthly species daily totals which meet the Toronto Ornithological Club reporting guidelines are forwarded to the Records Committee for inclusion in their database.