Northern Goshawk


Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

The Northern goshawk is an uncommon raven-sized raptor, related to the Cooper’s hawk and Sharp-shin in body plan. The basic colour is blue: grey-blue under, slate-blue upper, with a black crown and the fiercest red eyes that I have ever seen. No colour picture or mounted specimen can convey the total essence of wildness that seems to surround this bird. You have to see her in action. And one unintended way of doing that is to raise poultry.

no images were found

When I can, I raise free-range chickens. I like the products, mostly eggs and roast chicken, but I also enjoy their company. They are industrious, inquisitive, sociable, talkative, and when defending their young quite brave – chickens are not chicken, if you know what I mean. Contemplating a busy flock in the yard can lead to thoughts on the deeper mysteries of life, and the meaning of the universe. Danger is everywhere, for all of us, but for a chicken it often comes from overhead. Their very DNA is programmed to beware the open sky, and to seek cover when a shadow races near. I have seen this demonstrated in an unforgettable way: in my memory I have it labeled as ‘Close and Personal with a Goshawk.’

One moment I am casually watching a score of young chickens work the edge of the barnyard. The next it is as if lightning had struck: all but one disappear, with danger cries still echoing. The remaining bird is dying; on her back is a magnificent goshawk, talons working, glaring at me with a fiery red eye. She seems to say “Take this from me, if you can.” All I can do is watch as she leaves with her prey. I escort the rest of the birds back into the barn and count myself fortunate at this close encounter. At the cost of one chicken I have seen a raptor in all her glory, and I shall never forget.

Goshawks are highly aggressive, widely distributed birds. In these days when farm flocks of chickens are rare hawks are not as commonly seen away from the forest; I suspect that they take far more ruffed grouse than farm birds now. At one time they were shot on sight by almost every farmer; now they are protected and seem to be doing reasonably well. What is the value of a woodland with a pair of goshawks? To me, immeasurable.

Written by Ian MacQuarrie

Upcoming Events

Sep
29
Sat
9:00 am Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnig...
Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnig...
Sep 29 @ 9:00 am – Sep 30 @ 3:00 pm
Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnight Excursion @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Ecological Bushcraft: An Overnight Excursion September 29th-30th $225 Register Nowby ACTIVE Network Bushcraft is the art of living comfortably in nature. Learning to light a fire, construct a shelter or cook outdoors are just a
Oct
6
Sat
9:00 am Woodland Ecology: An Introductio...
Woodland Ecology: An Introductio...
Oct 6 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Woodland Ecology: An Introduction to Forest Stewardship @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Woodland Ecology:An Introduction to Forest Stewardship Saturday, October 6th $100 Register Nowby ACTIVE Network Whether it is one acre or one hundred acres, owning a woodlot can be a joyful but daunting task. Creating trails,
Oct
14
Sun
2:00 pm Autumn in the Forest
Autumn in the Forest
Oct 14 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.
Nov
2
Fri
9:00 pm Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance
Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance
Nov 2 @ 9:00 pm – Nov 4 @ 3:00 pm
Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance Spring Session: April 27th-29th Fall Session: November 2nd-4th $250 Register Nowby ACTIVE Network Burning firewood can be an affordable and potentially carbon neutral way to heat your home. However, the vast

Nursery Catalogue

Calendar of Events

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our Mailing List