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Can Goshawks be used to control Grey squirrels? (1 Viewer)

What's going on with BF at the moment??

I was thinking the same - I've noticed quite a few peacekeeping and philosophical posts from you in recent days... ;)

As for grey squirrels SW, I'm sure the most humane way of dealing with it is to kill them yourself, hard as it is. I wouldn't like to spend my last minutes being chased and in the talons of a Goshawk. At least you know you'll do it as quickly as poss.

To those who have lost all sentiment... Carefree isn't always a good thing. Arrogance never is...
 
The recent thread of this post is contrary to what I have experienced. My 250 acre wood was over run with grey squirrels , it was easy to see 50 in a walk around the woods. 115 years ago I started to do a common bird census in the wood and found an average of 550 pairs of breeding passerines over a 4 year period. I then controlled the greys and the numbers seen on a walk around the wood fell to 2-3 . The breeding bird population rose to 700 pairs and remained around that point until grey squirrel control was stopped 3 years ago since the average number of breeding birds has returned to around 550 and today though the greys are still less common that 15 years ago I still see maybe a dozen on a walk around. Its possible the GS population is now lower due to buzzard predation ( we did not have them 15 years ago and now have 3 pairs ).

Last year we had a pair of goshawks and they seemed to mainly prey on pheasants and pigeons. Never saw any evidence of them taking greys , thought I expect the would take them if the chance arose.

As for Cates idea of birth control , that would be very damaging to the environment than shooting or trapping.
 
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The recent thread of this post is contrary to what I have experienced. My 250 acre wood was over run with grey squirrels , it was easy to see 50 in a walk around the woods. 115 years ago ..

I presume that is acually 15 years ago!

So what your saying is that controlling GS increased to number of breeding pairs by around 15%. Meaning their population stabilized around 700 breeding pairs per 250 acres, but that with GS population limit was 550 pairs in the same area?
= Meaning that songbird numbers increased with control of GS, but songbird numbers were stable (though lower) in there presence.

And importantly goshawks wont do it, which was my original question so thankyou very much. In fact thankyou very much for that whole post because thats exactly the kind of info Ive been after!
B :)
 
Interestingly I saw a presentation on Goshawk at the BTO North East Ringing conference last week, the pair they monitored had grey squirrel as a large part of its diet I can't recall the exact amount but I think it was 60% mammals 40% birds compared to a national average of 90% birds 10% mammals.
 
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Interestingly I saw a presentation on Goshawk at the BTO North East Ringing conference last week, the pair they monitored had grey squirrel as a large part of its diet I can't recall the exact amount but I think it was 60% mammals 40% birds compared to a national average of 90% birds 10% mammals.

Oh brilliant! now im all confused again. Thanks Mike! :-O
 
Presumably it is possible to structure a woodland so that a particular form of predation is facilitated.

Some large old trees would probably encourage nesting raptors, and carefully sited perches are clearly of importance to both buzzards and goshawks.

Such things as zigzag rather than straight rides should also assist avian predators.

All thats needed is to find the appropriate expert !
 
Fugl Im coming to realise this point is very valid. Ive been under the impression for a long time, and so have many others that GS are a real problem for songbirds. But my research since starting this thread is turning up a very different reality. The wood land in question has priority species clearly not effected by GS according to the study. I will be having serious discussions with the advisors on whether the control of GS is really warranted.

To the rest of you thankyou all for your input. It would be nice to think we could somehow naturally encourage predation of grey squirrels by attracting existing BoP to the woods, but the reality is that if it were valid it would have already happened naturally. We have local goshawks and buzzards.

Im not prepared to use trained birds, for the reasons many of you have explained. My entire philosophy on land managment is working with the an ecosystems biodiversity to support its natural continuation. Im hoping I retain that approach and the reality doesnt turn me into a 'Songbird Survival' trustee! I doubt that though. I think that maybe we need to accept the GS are an intergrated part of that ecology and stop trying to fight them. I encourage you all to read the PDF previously attached and perhaps rethink your stance on GS as I am beginning to.

MJB- I was under the impression that the Red/Grey problem was generally considered manageable by habitat, as Reds prefer coniferous woodland apposed the Greys love of broad-leaf diciduous. I read somewhere that the general consenus in conservation biology was changing in it approach to protecting Reds with this info in mind (no idea where i saw that though).

I may start a blog on this project, with loads of pictures which i will link BF up to somehow.
Thanks to all

A myth, I'm afraid. Greys may might not like coniferous woodland, but reds can tolerate it. The reds' preference is definitely for deciduous woodland. They love beech. The best habitat for reds near me has always been the mixed woodland. I picked a road casualty red up yesterday from a road through a deciduous wood with not a conifer in sight.

Sadly the greys have turned up lately and it's not only cars that our local reds have to worry about.

That's not a conifer the red is sitting in in this photo I took in 2007 when the wood was full of them. I went back in 2009 and the only red squirrel I saw was a photo of one on a squirrel pox poster. The wood was devoid of live ones.
 

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Many large raptors develope prey preferences with one pair targeting one species and another going for another. To give an example the common buzzards in my area mainly take small mammals and rabbits , but one pair last year seemed to mainly prey on rooks and jays. I found 24 corvide wings under their nest.
 
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