Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hawk Ridge: Goshawk

In September and October I made several trips up to Hawk Ridge up in Duluth, MN to watch a flood of raptors fly by over head. One of the high lights of these days up at Hawk Ridge is the adopt a raptor program. While the big focus of the events at Hawk Ridge focus on the raptor counts there are also 3 banding stations that trap and band raptors who are flying by.
Often these banded raptors are brought over to the ridge where for a fee , $20 to $200 depending on the type of bird, you get to release the bird. Before the bird is adopted the education staff will give a short presentation so that people can get a close up look and learn about the bird.
Because they are more rare then many of the other birds that are captured, such as sharpies, merlins and red-tails, the northern goshawk is a little bit more expensive to adopt. This bird was banded on my trip up to Hawk Ridge on October 18th.
The goshawk is the largest member of the genus accipiter. Since they are members of the hawk family accipiters have rounded wings but unlike the other types of hawks, buteos, their wings are shorter and their tails are longer.
These adaptation help accipiters to maneuver through woodland in search of song birds and other prey. Accipiters in North America include sharp-shinned hawks, coopers hawks and northern goshawks.
Even though it is $100 dollars to adopt a goshawks I was ready to fork out the money. But since I had adopted a goshawk back in September and had already adopted a sharpie and a merlin that day I decided to that I would wait to see if there was someone else who wanted the privilege of holding the bird and letting it fly free. A woman did step up, although I am not sure that she knew how much it was going to cost, and adopted the bird. This was a first year bird. You can tell because the eyes are yellow. In accipiters the eyes darken as they age so in the second year they will be orange and by the third they will be red which is the color that they will stay


Leedra said...

These photographs are great, wonderful to be that close to them. Once you get such detail in your head you can never mistake it. It is one thing to look in a book and say I think it is. This is another giant step. And to be her......

Misty Dawn said...

What an absolutely fantastic post! That is one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen! Amazing and gorgeous photos!

Julie said...

Love the shots, It would be great to get so close to the beautiful birds.

Ed Kavanaugh said...

I had one of these big beautiful goshawks land on my backyard deck railing a week ago. I didn't know at the time what it was until I did a google image search and came across your blogspot posting.

It was less than 5 feet from my sliding glass doors that look ajoin my deck. I scrambled for a camera but when I returned it was gone.

There are many different types of goshawks, or at least many different colors and sizes and the pictures you have posted that you took in Deluth are almost exact images of what I had seen.

I live in Brookfield, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago.