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Illinois Swainson's Hawk Project

Welcome to the Illinois Swainson's Hawk Project website.


ISHP Fieldworkers Forum

Registered Fieldworkers only.



Submit Your Swainson's Hawk Sightings!


ISHP Fieldworkers Forum: Check here regularly for important announcements, post questions, or share sightings.

Forms & Instructions: Download survey forms and instructions for conducting the surveys.

Submit Data: Information on where to send your completed forms or report Swainson's Hawk sightings.

Route Maps: View a map of the survey area and a list of available, unassigned blocks / squares.

ID Swainson's Hawks: Learn how to identify, age, and sex Swainson's Hawks and other raptors.

Sign-Up: Learn how to sign-up and volunteer to survey an area for the Illinois Swainson's Hawk Project.


About the ISHP:

The Illinois Swainson's Hawk Project (ISHP) is a joint effort to study the small remnant population of breeding Swainson's Hawks in northern Illinois.  Volunteers are needed for the spring and summer of 2010 to help with sightings of Swainson’s Hawks in their known nesting locations of Kane and McHenry counties, and surrounding areas.  During the course of the spring and summer, fieldworkers will drive designated routes in the region to survey for Swainson's Hawks and hopefully locate new or previously unknown areas where these birds may be breeding.

The purpose of this research is to determine where, when and why Swainson’s Hawks use this very limited area for breeding, and more importantly, to determine if they use any of the surrounding regions. Swainson’s Hawks show a very unusual breeding distribution with Kane and McHenry counties of Illinois being the only known nesting region for this species east of the Mississippi River. More data needs to be collected to help in determining their future.

The scope of the Illinois Swainson’s Hawk Project is to recruit qualified volunteers to report Swainson’s Hawk sightings in designated areas with pre-determined routes. All sightings and data collected will be sent to Bob and Anita Morgan for further evaluation. Bob and Anita have done fieldwork over the past 5 years surveying, recording and analyzing nesting pairs of Swainson’s Hawks in Kane and McHenry counties. Their research is the catalyst for these further proceedings. I encourage you to read their article, “Observations of Nesting Swainson’s Hawks in Illinois, 2002-2004” in Meadowlark, a Journal of Illinois Birds, IOS’s publication, Volume 14, Number 2, 2005.  A .PDF copy of their article can be found here.

The Illinois Swainson’s Hawk Project will be a multi-year effort. Our goal is to ensure that Swainson’s Hawks have a healthy future in Illinois.


Volunteers are trained in the identification of and behavior patterns in Swainson’s Hawks at introductory seminars held at the start of the season.  Contact us and we will send you a packet with the necessary information needed to conduct surveys.  We will also help you choose a square / area to survey for hawks.


The area being covered by ISHP fieldworkers can be viewed at on the Maps page.  Volunteers will be surveying areas as far south as Sugar Grove, Huntley and I-88 and as far north as Harvard - near the Wisconsin border.


To Sign-Up:

To sign-up for the Illinois Swainson's Hawk Project, please register at the link below.


Sign-Up for the ISHP!



Please direct any questions to: Bob & Anita Morgan, amorgan@sxu.edu, (708) 209-1938



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