Our coastal subpopulation of Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) is provincially red-listed, federally threatened, and classified as ‘Identified Wildlife’ under the BC Forest and Range Practices Act. Only 1000 mature individuals are estimated to occur in Canada, representing half of the global population, and populations are apparently declining throughout the range. This raptor prefers extensive forests with large stands of mature trees and is threatened by loss and fragmentation of nesting and foraging habitat, and related subsequent reductions in prey diversity and availability.
How We are Helping Goshawks
In order to conserve habitat for Northern Goshawks, we must first identify occupied sites. The Northern Goshawk BC Implementation Plan (under development) has identified a gap in management for the South Coast and a need to identify and protect additional Breeding Area reserves across our region. In 2015, they calculated that 122 breeding areas would need to be protected in the South Coast Conservation Region to achieve BC home range objectives but that there were only 39 currently protected. Their short-term goal was to protect an additional 30 territories in the South Coast region by 2020. Thus, finding and protecting Northern Goshawk territories is a top priority.
Over the past four years, in collaboration with the Northern Goshawk Recovery Team and the Province of BC, we have been conducting call-playback surveys to search for Northern Goshawks in areas possessing high suitability habitat. As are result of these surveys, we have recorded Goshawk detections at five locations, including confirming three breeding territories, including active nest trees and parent and juvenile birds. All three territories have now been designated as candidate Wildlife Habitat Areas, which, once formalized, will protect over 600 hectares of habitat for Northern Goshawks along with the many other species that share their forest home!