Raptor Population Index

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Species Assessment:
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

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The 10-year North American migration count trends for the Northern Goshawk suggests some population declines occurring in part of the range as 46% of 26 total sites recorded a decline in counts during this span. The other 54% of the count sites recorded stable counts. Stability varies regionally, with mostly stable counts for sites in the Central and West Regions. The majority of the declines have been observed in the East, with 69% of Eastern sites reported declines (see pie charts and trend maps below). The 20-year count trends (not shown) also reflect declining trends in the East over this span. The Central and West Regions have observed both declining and stable counts during the last 20 years. (Central Region: 1 stable, 1 decrease; East Region: 9 decrease; West Region: 4 stable, 1 decrease). Hawk Ridge, Minnesota, which counts the highest average count of goshawks at 206, observed a 7.6% decline in goshawks per year during the past twenty years. The four sites recording the highest counts of goshawks in the past decade all show stable trends suggesting some declines may have stabilized, though a rebound or increase was not noted (range 56 to 206 goshawks on average for highest counts; Hawk Ridge, Minnesota; Tadoussac, Quebec; Goshutes, Nevada; Whitefish Point, Michigan). Goshawk declines appear most evident in the Eastern Great Lakes and Appalachians in the recent decade, where sites such as Waggoner’s Gap, Pennsylvania, observe an average of 36 goshawks per year along with a 15% decline per year.

Winter survey data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) show stable 10-year trends continent-wide however most states, provinces and Bird Conservation Regions show significant declines in wintering goshawks except in the Northern Rockies, Yukon, Northern Quebec, or the Boreal Soft Shield. The Northern Goshawk is a species of Least Concern on the global IUCN Red List, but it is listed as a sensitive species by the U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Southwest, Southwest, Intermountain, Rocky Mountains, and Alaska Regions. Currently, there are no designations for this species in the Northern, Eastern, and Pacific Northwest regions, but some states have designated it as a Sensitive Species warranting more investigation. Research is required to determine the cause of observed declines. Northern Goshawks rely on large mature forests and may be vulnerable to nest disturbance, environmental contaminants, habitat loss, climate change, and disease.

Northern Goshawk<br>Photo by Holly Merker

Photo by Holly Merker

Please cite this page as:
    D. Oleyar, D. Ethier, L. Goodrich, D. Brandes, R. Smith, J. Brown, and J. Sodergren. 2021. The Raptor Population Index: 2019 Analyses and Assessments.