BOONE, N.C. — When H. N. Patton graduated college, he didn't have a clear view of his future. After a few uninspiring jobs, he finally found his calling. 


What You Need to Know 

Grandfather Mountain is one of 200 registered sites to track hawk migration 

Staff watch hawks and other birds migrate throughout September 

They say this teaches them about the birds, as well as about the ecosystems in each area 


"I love my job. I couldn't be happier then being here at Grandfather Mountain," Patton said.

He started as a seasonal worker two years ago and quickly fell in love with Grandfather Mountain.

"We get to do and be a part of so much that is bigger then just Grandfather Mountain that it makes you feel like you have a larger impact on the world around you versus right where you're standing," Patton said.

He spent all of September staring at the gorgeous view to get a glimpse of birds of all kinds.

"Specifically raptors," Patton said.

Grandfather Mountain is part of the hawk migration association. They are one of 200 registered sites that submit data on the hawks and other raptors migrating for the winter.

"You can never know enough about these guys. We still don't know a whole lot about raptors migration, what drives them to migrate? How far South they migrate? How they know to go," Patton said.

This year, the numbers are pretty similar to last. Patton expects numbers to pick up again soon.

"Coming anywhere from the top of Canada all the way down to our backyard and migrating South," Patton said.

Patton said it's important for them to learn as much as they can about the birds passing over head as they head south.