Goshawk predation on Grey Squirrel as high a 95% recorded.

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Goshawk holding predated Grey Squirrel

It has come to our notice that a pair of nesting Goshawks being monitored in the Midlands in 2014 by the Forestry Commission and local bird watchers were predating 90% Grey Squirrel. This adds to the Derbyshire nest where 95% Grey Squirrel predation was recorded, and a nest in Devon where Grey Squirrel predation was 68% Grey.

All 3 nests were protected by the Forestry Commission and local bird watchers. So why are the Forestry Commission paying land owners to kill grey squirrels when the same land owners with a shooting interest are also killing Goshawks as well?

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Goshawk feeding upon predated Grey Squirrel

One of the safest breeding locations in England for the Goshawk are usually found on Forestry Commission land. Sadly even then high upland plantations often see their adult Goshawks flying down to lower elevations in winter to feed where they are all too often killed on pheasant shoots.

 What a great opportunity for the Forestry Commission to raise their conifer plantation profile by advertising their protection of this iconic woodland species. With the addition of Pine Martens, Grey Squirrels would be soon on the run, and as seen in Ireland, Red Squirrels would be naturally coming back to areas where they have been missing for years.

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Immature Goshawk feeding Grey Squirrel remains to her 4 chicks.

March is the best month in the year for spying Goshawks displaying around your area. Already bird watchers have been reporting the Goshawks displaying in the few bright sunny days of February. Look out for the noticeable white under tail coverts raised sometimes looking like a white rump and the undulating power display flight. If possible find a high vantage point over looking a plantation as you will get a better view of the display, and if you are lucky even get a few flight pictures. We would love to hear from you if you are lucky. All sites will be kept secret

1 comment to Goshawk predation on Grey Squirrel as high a 95% recorded.

  • So do goshawks not predate on Red Squirrels as they are smaller and less aggressive?

    Editor’s Comment. Yes the goshawk will predate red squirrels where they are in good numbers, however as the grey is far more widely available in most forest regions this is their first choice.