Monday, September 30, 2013

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk - Accipiter gentilis

These raptors have a reputation for relentless pursuit of Snowshoe Hares and Ruffed Grouse, their traditional prey. However, anything smaller that moves is at risk when this talented hunter is in the neighborhood. In years when the Snowshoe Hare population falls, Northern Goshawks might migrate south. 

Accipiters have long toes and the prey is killed with the talons. After capture, and during flight, the Northern Goshawk extends long legs away from the body to minimize injury from the prey, and repeatedly stabs the prey with the talons until a vital organ is penetrated. The beak is only used for feeding.  
The location at the edge of a coniferous forest, the broad tail with a fourth tail band, and the distinct white supercilium confirm this as an immature Northern Goshawk.

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

Dunne P, Sibley D, Sutton C. Hawks in Flight. Houghton Mifflin. New York. 1988.

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

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2000.

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

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