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NORTHERN GOSHAWK } Accipiter gentilis

RANGE: Northern goshawks inhabit most mature forests types west of the Continental Divide from Canada and Alaska through every western state into southern Mexico. They occur at lower densities in southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

STATUS: Not listed under the Endangered Species Act; NatureServe calls the species Secure on a global level, but the bird is now very rare in coastal forests from Southern California to Washington.

THREATS: Habitat loss due to logging, road construction, prescribed burns, and recreation development

The northern goshawk is legendary for its ferocity, beauty, and amazing flight skills; in medieval Europe, goshawks were the most prized of all falconry hawks. But like the spotted owl, goshawks need old trees to survive, and logging in their ancient forest homes threatens to thin the species’ numbers drastically. Northern goshawks have been championed by the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned to list the northern goshawk as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and in so doing compelled the U.S. Forest Service to dramatically improve protection of mature and old-growth forests across the West.


Photo © Robin Silver