THE spot for spring Golden Eagles
Tussey Mountain is a spring hawkwatch focusing on Golden Eagles. Primarily a bird of the mountains and foothills of western North America, a small population of a few thousand Golden Eagles breeds in remote areas of northeastern Canada and migrates south to spend the winter in the eastern U.S. These birds had been counted on fall migration in Pennsylvania for many years, at well-known hawkwatching sites like Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and PA Audubon's Waggoner's Gap. However, very few are seen at these sites in spring. Monitoring since the mid-1990s has shown that Tussey Mountain consistently has the highest counts of Golden Eagles in spring in the Appalachian region.
The Tussey Mountain Spring Hawkwatch is directed by Nick Bolgiano and Jon Kauffman. Official counter for 2021 is Sean McLaughlin. Our sponsor is the Shavers Creek Environmental Center, and we are funded through grants (sometimes), the generosity of individual donors, and partnership with the State College Bird Club.
The best time to see golden eagles is typically during the first three weeks of March, but the biggest flights highly depend on weather conditions. Be sure to bring plenty of layers because weather can be highly variable (brutal to balmy) on the ridgetop - see image at left. If you need a break, head down to Shaver's Creek to warm up! There are no facilities (other than lots of trees) at the site.
The hawkwatch is located in Rothrock State Forest, about 7 miles southwest of State College, Pennsylvania on the crest of Tussey Mountain. Take Route 26 south from State College. Bear left at the flashing light in Pine Grove Mills, and continue on Route 26 to the top of Tussey Mountain (locally called "Pine Grove Mtn"). Park in the large gravel lot on the right near Jo Hayes Vista. Walk about 2/3 mile on the Mid-State Trail to the southwest along the ridgetop until you get to the powerline (if the winds are from the northwest, Jo Hayes itself is also a good spot). Pick a comfortable rock, be patient, and enjoy the view.
For more information about visiting, contact Jon Kauffman at email@example.com