The goshawk can be spotted in very specific areas of Scotland as this bird of prey continues to steadily recolonise the land after extinction…
1. A female goshawk is almost as big as a male buzzard making it much larger than the male goshawk. In birds of prey, females are almost always larger than males.
2. A goshawk will kill tawny owls, but in mainland Europe, eagle owls will kill goshawks.
3. Young goshawks have pale-yellow eyes, which turn dark red as they reach maturity. This is the opposite of ospreys.
4. In the UK, Goshawks were hunted to extinction in the 1800s. They have been recolonising since the 1960s and now up to 430 pairs breed in the UK.
5. In late winter and spring the male and female goshawk perform a ‘sky-dance’ display.
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Near large areas of woodland and forests with glades or out in the open countryside, all of which provide a decent hunt. In Scotland, you’ll find goshawks most prominent up the north-east, across the Borders and in Dumfries and Galloway.
You can read Jim Crumley’s Scottish wildlife columns online here, and each month in The Scots Magazine.