Sunday, March 31, 2013

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk - Accipiter gentilis

The Northern Goshawk is the largest of the accipiters, which allows the bird to take larger prey such as Snowshoe Hare and Ruffed Grouse.  
The Goshawk in the photos above and below was posing about half way up an Aspen at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. The white supercilium is a good field marker.
The young are able to tear food up by end of the first month, start hunting at about 50 days, and are independent by 70 days. The talons are for stabbing and killing the prey; the beak is for plucking and feeding. 
The Goshawk in these two photos was hunting in Griffith Wood on March 24, 2013. The feathers at the wing tips separate into "fingers," which allows the birds to fly at slower speeds without stalling. Notice the "fingers" are wider apart in the photo above, while the hawk was slowing. 
Several years ago, while hiking Heart Creek, I came upon a Goshawk feeding on the ground. I startled the bird, which flew off down the trail, leaving these wing prints. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Dunne P, Sibley D, Sutton C. Hawks in Flight. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston. 1988.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Scotter GW, Ulrich TJ, Jones EJ. Birds in the Canadian Rockies. Prairie Books. Saskatoon. 1990.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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