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Goshawk

Last updated: 18 January 2011

The goshawk was once known as 'goose-hawk', possibly due to its large size and plumage or perhaps they were used for actually hunting geese with?

Its current name was once used when referring to peregrines, rendering the origins of the bird we now know as the goshawk uncertain.

Goshawks were driven to extinction in Wales centuries ago but are now making a comeback.

Goshawks were highly regarded by the Norman and Saxon nobility, but the Victorians held a different view.

Game keepers, poachers and egg collectors persecuted the goshawk, resulting in its disappearance from Britain by the late 1800s.

In the last 30 years this hawk has made a comeback and there are now more than 400 pairs in Wales.

Although they are very vocal, they are not easy to see as they don't fly around the canopy like other birds of prey, choosing instead to fly through it.

Their wings are beautifully adapted for weaving in and out of dense woodland and pine forests chasing prey which normally consists of crow, pigeon, jackdaw, magpie and squirrel but they will also take larger birds such as pheasant.

Although fairly secretive, you can sometimes see them hunting over open countryside but you'll normally just get a fleeting glimpse of one entering a forest before disappearing into the trees!

They are resident all year round, but the best time to see them is in late winter and spring when they perform display flights above the trees.

Their nests are fairly untidy on the eye but these birds are protected so it is a criminal offence to disturb a nest site so be very careful should you stumble across one accidentally.


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