Hawk Rise Sanctuary, NJ, is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the protection of birds of prey. Hawk Rise Sanctuary, NJ is located in rural Warren County, NJ on Route 31 north of Great Meadows Boro. Visitors are welcome by appointment only.
The sanctuary serves as an environmental learning center for children and adults who come to discover how to live more harmoniously with nature and our native wildlife. A unique collection of raptors, birds of prey, is the central feature at the sanctuary. Many are non-releasable because they were injured and can no longer survive in the wild due to their injuries or imprinted on humans as hatchlings by well-meaning but misinformed people who picked up an abandoned baby bird on a street or found a nestling with a broken wing.
At the sanctuary, many of these birds have been given a second chance at life by being offered food and shelter in their old age but most importantly, by being provided with an environment rich in natural stimuli as they would experience in the wild. The idea is to give them their dignity, the opportunity to maintain their role in nature, and to act on their natural instincts.
The sanctuary is home to over 130 birds representing 20 species of raptors including birds of prey native to New Jersey such as Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Eastern Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, and others; Bald Eagle; Osprey; Peregrine Falcon, federally listed threatened species under the Endangered Species Act; and Eurasian Kestrel, an exotic species of bird introduced to the United States in the 1970s.
The sanctuary welcomes visitors who come to observe birds of prey in flight around a 200-foot-long elevated circular viewing trail that runs through the forested part of the property. Visitors can also learn about red-tailed hawks nesting from a viewing platform. The trails are perfect for observing wildlife as many species can be seen on any given day, including Eastern Bluebird, American Crow, Common Raven, and Northern Mockingbird. In particular, visitors have a high probability of seeing wild Turkey, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Eastern Screech Owl, and the Blue Jay.
The sanctuary is home to a multitude of species that can be seen in the open fields and forest areas surrounding the aviaries. One of the most noticeable species is the American Kestrel which hunts by hovering near grassy areas where meadowlarks, sparrows, and mice are found. When prey is detected, the kestrel pounces on its victim in flight catching it with its front claws while at the same time gripping the captured prey with sharp rear talons. The American Kestrel’s diet consists of insects, small rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and birds; it also eats some plant material.
Overall, Hawk Rise Sanctuary is an amazing educational organization that is willing to share its expertise and experiences as a raptor rehabilitation center with all those who visit. Their goal is to instill the understanding and respect for birds of prey and their role in nature so visitors can enjoy them safely, even if it means leaving them in the wild to live out their lives.