Bird of the Week – Northern Goshawk

Unlike the wussy other raptors WC has posted recently, the Northern Goshawk usually remains in Alaska all winter. A big, fierce, highly  territorial bird, it is specialized to hunt in the dense boreal forest.

Northern Goshawk, Ester, Alaska

Northern Goshawk, Ester, Alaska

WC doesn’t have good photos of this species. In fact, this is probably the oldest bird photo WC has posted on the Mudflats. There was a nesting area outside of Fairbanks, but some dirtbag came in and cut down all of the birch trees in which they nested. The extended failure of the Snowshoe Hare populations, a primary prey species, hasn’t helped.

It’s astonishing to watch this species fly at high speed through a forest. The comparatively short wings and long tail make them highly maneuverable, especially for such a big bird. A female Northern Goshawk can be 24 inches long, with a wingspan of 45 inches. Yet the bird can zip through dense forest at high speed.

The species is not common. They have very large territories, meaning they are found in very low densities. But it is always a treat to see one.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.