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Goshawks (1 Viewer)

Himalaya

Well-known member
There are a number of Goshawks in my local area and 2 of them - an adult male present from Spring 2020 at least and an adult female present since March 2021 have anklets on indicating at some point falconers used these birds. These 2 birds have not been seen to display together and can be a few miles apart separated by a hill often.
The female has been up in the air quite a bit recently. When she is only a Curlew mobs her. A Buzzard tried but moved on. She is a fairly large bird. The male is larger than Crows who tend to mob him a fair bit. Over 30 chased him once.

How far away can they see? Could they ever mate and raise young together?
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
There are a number of Goshawks in my local area and 2 of them - an adult male present from Spring 2020 at least and an adult female present since March 2021 have anklets on indicating at some point falconers used these birds. These 2 birds have not been seen to display together and can be a few miles apart separated by a hill often.
The female has been up in the air quite a bit recently. When she is only a Curlew mobs her. A Buzzard tried but moved on. She is a fairly large bird. The male is larger than Crows who tend to mob him a fair bit. Over 30 chased him once.

How far away can they see? Could they ever mate and raise young together?
As I once heard a birder tell a grockle about how far he could see with his telescope: 92 million miles during the day and further at night.
 

jogresh

Registered nutjob
I've done a few Goshawk survey/monitoring contracts and i reckon they can spot another displaying Gos from a good distance. Additionally, if either one fancied bagging a partner, they'd start to check suitable Gozzie areas, radiating outwards from their home turf, as well as keeping an eye out while they're on hunting forays. So, yes there's a good chance these 2 could meet up, or equally meet a young bird dispersing and looking for territory.
 

Himalaya

Well-known member
Their is one bit of woodland the female is over quite a bit now.
If it came down to it could the male and female both with anklets on raise young together?
The female is quite big. Here it is with a Buzzard.
 

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wolfbirder

Well-known member
I've been watching a pair of Goshawks over a wood not far from me over Spring, often not up together but occasionally they do get up at the same time and almost seem to fight each other, stooping at each other with talons out. But they don't connect. I am presuming these 2 adults are a breeding pair. They have also been stooping and doing the rollercoaster display occasionally, but mostly just circling gradually to a mile away and then back again.

It has provided me great opportunity to study the species closely, alongside up to 12 Buzzards, Red Kite, Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks, Kestrel, and several Ravens, as well as lots of Crows and Jackdaws. There is also a resident Little Owl pair, plus lots of Pheasants, Red-legged Partridges, Lapwings, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, tits, Blackbirds, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Chaffinches, plus occasional Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Greenfinch. A large wintering flock of Fieldfares and Redwings have now moved on.

The female Gos is clearly larger than the male, a crow that had a go at it was two-thirds its size. I would say the female was equal size to the Buzzards present, quite long-bodied almost like a Honey Buzzard but always wings held flat and like a flying crucifix. The male Gos is smaller, about a third smaller than the female and with more rapid wing beats but still clearly a Gos, bulky and broad-chested and like the female with a tapering trailing edge to the wings (in contrast to Sparrowhawks). Its markings are darker grey/blue than the female and the eye-stripe is visible giving a clear capped effect. The sun angle is often poor from the spot I observe. Interestingly, when we recently had two days of really warm weather, another 2 Goshawks came up from the large wood, an immature female and another bird which I didn't get good looks at, but probably an immature male. I had never seen them previously but to have 4 Gos's in the air at the same time was fantastic, but only on that single day. Every other time I have just seen the adult pair, literally every day I have been in March. I am sure all 4 birds are present all the time, but if not breeding there will unlikely be any display.

Fantastic birds! I am really chuffed as I usually have to drive to Forest of Dean or maybe Wrye Forest to see Gos's, but this year they are present near to me.
 
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KenM

Well-known member
Their is one bit of woodland the female is over quite a bit now.
If it came down to it could the male and female both with anklets on raise young together?
The female is quite big. Here it is with a Buzzard.
A great comparative image Himalaya. 👍
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I was quite surprised that Wiktionary could actually give me a definition for 'grockle'.
It says pretty much what you'd expect, too, though I think the usage could be expanded to "a dismissive term used by any group of specialists about "ordinary people" intruding on their patch".

John
 

Himalaya

Well-known member
I've been watching a pair of Goshawks over a wood not far from me over Spring, often not up together but occasionally they do get up at the same time and almost seem to fight each other, stooping at each other with talons out. But they don't connect. I am presuming these 2 adults are a breeding pair. They have also been stooping and doing the rollercoaster display occasionally, but mostly just circling gradually to a mile away and then back again.

It has provided me great opportunity to study the species closely, alongside up to 12 Buzzards, Red Kite, Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks, Kestrel, and several Ravens, as well as lots of Crows and Jackdaws. There is also a resident Little Owl pair, plus lots of Pheasants, Red-legged Partridges, Lapwings, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, tits, Blackbirds, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Chaffinches, plus occasional Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Greenfinch. A large wintering flock of Fieldfares and Redwings have now moved on.

The female Gos is clearly larger than the male, a crow that had a go at it was two-thirds its size. I would say the female was equal size to the Buzzards present, quite long-bodied almost like a Honey Buzzard but always wings held flat and like a flying crucifix. The male Gos is smaller, about a third smaller than the female and with more rapid wing beats but still clearly a Gos, bulky and broad-chested and like the female with a tapering trailing edge to the wings (in contrast to Sparrowhawks). Its markings are darker grey/blue than the female and the eye-stripe is visible giving a clear capped effect. The sun angle is often poor from the spot I observe. Interestingly, when we recently had two days of really warm weather, another 2 Goshawks came up from the large wood, an immature female and another bird which I didn't get good looks at, but probably an immature male. I had never seen them previously but to have 4 Gos's in the air at the same time was fantastic, but only on that single day. Every other time I have just seen the adult pair, literally every day I have been in March. I am sure all 4 birds are present all the time, but if not breeding there will unlikely be any display.

Fantastic birds! I am really chuffed as I usually have to drive to Forest of Dean or maybe Wrye Forest to see Gos's, but this year they are present near to me.


Sounds like quite an exciting area and I totally agree with your description of the female Goshawk like a flying crucifix. The bird I see is quite a solid looking bird. Interestingly Crows do mob her but she does strike back and they do move on. That baffles me because usually Crows are terrified of Goshawks. They must know more about the bird than I do. I am concerned she may not like eating Corvids so could turn her attention to the Lapwings and Curlews.

The male appeared a few years ago and since then we have noticed the number of Lapwings decline. They have shifted their nests to the hill tops rather than the lower fields. Since this year the Sparrowhawk have not been very showy and today the female was observed chasing a male Sparrowhawk. Where she lingers the most the Buzzards have stopped displaying and the Kestrels rarely venture. The Ravens seem to avoid that area too. The Carrion Crows and the Woodpigeons are staying put though.

Eaten Lapwings, Gulls - Black-headed Gull, Common and maybe Lesser Black Backed, Carrion Crows have been found a few times. The Green Woodpeckers have disappeared.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Sounds like quite an exciting area and I totally agree with your description of the female Goshawk like a flying crucifix. The bird I see is quite a solid looking bird. Interestingly Crows do mob her but she does strike back and they do move on. That baffles me because usually Crows are terrified of Goshawks. They must know more about the bird than I do. I am concerned she may not like eating Corvids so could turn her attention to the Lapwings and Curlews.
I have seen Carrion Crows mob flying (female) Goshawks at least twice. I think it has more to do with the specific situation than with the dietary preference of individuals - the crows are showing that they're aware of the threat, and thus harder to catch than if taken by surprise.
 

Biancone

to err is human
Interesting thread! I have spent many many hours over several years observing around a Goshawk site in wooded hills in north Italy. If breeding, the male can be seen regularly but I have very rarely seen the female! Mostly they keep within the woodland and its has always been snowing or foggy when courtship display might be expected...
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I too was somewhat surprised to see Crows mobbing the Gos's, also saw a Sparrowhawk half its size tussle with it. There are Lapwings, Green Woodpecker, numerous Wood Pigeons in the same wood but I've never seen them attacked by Gos's. In fact I think that when the Gos's took to the air above the treetops, they were in non-hunting mode altogether. I probably didn't see their hunting behaviour at all.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
There are a number of Goshawks in my local area and 2 of them - an adult male present from Spring 2020 at least and an adult female present since March 2021 have anklets on indicating at some point falconers used these birds. These 2 birds have not been seen to display together and can be a few miles apart separated by a hill often.
The female has been up in the air quite a bit recently. When she is only a Curlew mobs her. A Buzzard tried but moved on. She is a fairly large bird. The male is larger than Crows who tend to mob him a fair bit. Over 30 chased him once.

How far away can they see? Could they ever mate and raise young together?
Could it be like humans ... ?
ie. wherever there is a female (of any description !) , there is always at least one, and often more, males on the job !

At my old patch, there was a resident female little eagle - who had a string of lovers - both light and dark morph (including light morphs after dark - kinda putting paid to the old chestnut that once you go 'black' you'll never go back ! 😁). I don't know if the males came to grief, went into retirement, etc, or were given the flick ! 😲

She was the absolute queen of that territory - taking on all challengers.

For that reason I presume, there were no nesting pairs of Goshawks on the patch, but occasional skulkers, hunting circuit interlopers, and prospectors of both sexes (mostly males though) - though very rarely at the same time - in fact the only time I saw the two sexes together was soaring waaaay up high in that crucifix style as described (like near the limit of human sight high) near the edge of the territory. The thermals were pretty good around there.

Can't say that I can recall at the moment (dog tired) any 'display' behaviour from the Gos's apart from that tight circling together at eagle like heights which I thought was a bit unusual (well from my sightings up until then anyway)




Chosun 🙆
 

KenM

Well-known member
Goshawks for me, have been erratic in their appearances over the years, some years just a couple of sightings others circa half dozen, this year the former has been very much the case.

FWIW I agree that Female Gos
sightings for me, like you, are very few and far between, with Male birds being very much the dominant gender (when seen).

Although I’ve never seen a kill, I understand from others that Corvids are not infrequently taken, additionally last week I witnessed (only my 3rd sighting of the year) a bird suddenly appearing to “bounce” an imm.LBBGull, sending the gull off at a tangent before soaring off over the canopy.

Cheers
 

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