Goshawk banding

On Saturday I had the pleasure of helping band a family of Northern Goshawks. Northern Goshawks are retracting their range in the Northeastern part of the United States, particularly the Appalachian region. Banding projects that can track things such as survival of young, dispersal after fledging, site fidelity, and longevity are crucial for understanding their population status.

Generally the tactic is to catch both adults, climb the tree to the nest, bring the young down for banding, put the young back in the nest, and finally band the adults and let them go. In real life, we managed to quickly catch the female but the male snuck past us as it was bringing back a chipmunk to the nest, a rather wimpy excuse for a goshawk meal. Seeing as the male often only returns to the nest a couple times a day, we went ahead and climbed up to the nest and banded the single young and then the adult female.

downy female Northern Goshawk

It was good that we went ahead and got the chick down right away because it wasn’t long before a huge thunderstorm started blowing in from the west and really made us scramble to pack everything up. Luckily I got to hold the female for a bit before releasing her back to keep her baby safe from the rain.

holding the female Northern Goshawk