Kennedy and Andersen 2004 summary

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Kennedy, P.L. and D.E. Andersen. 2004. Research and monitoring plan for northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis atricapillus) in the western Great Lakes Region. Report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 83 pp.


Conservation of northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis atricapillus) in the western Great Lakes region (the northern forested portions of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and the southern forested portions of Ontario) is hampered by a lack of population data and information about goshawk-habitat relations. In this report, we provide a brief summary of existing information on goshawks in the WGLR, and conclude that existing data are few and have limited applicability to regional conservation and monitoring of the breeding goshawk population. Furthermore, we identify important considerations in establishing monitoring protocols for goshawks, and suggest approaches to address limitations associated with existing data.

As a basis for developing a regional goshawk monitoring and research plan, we convened a meeting of regional stakeholders in January 1998. At that meeting, state and federal natural resource conservation agencies and non-governmental organizations with an interest in goshawk conservation indicated that regional information priorities included 1) identifying goshawk breeding habitat, 2) understanding the influence of forest management on goshawk habitat, 3) delineating the spatial distribution of goshawk habitat, 4) understanding temporal changes in goshawk habitat, 5) monitoring regional population trends, 6) identifying causes of mortality, and 7) identifying goshawk wintering habitat. Furthermore, stakeholders identified the regional breeding population of goshawks and the habitats that population uses throughout the year as regional priorities. To address these information priorities, we propose a two-phase monitoring and research plan.

Phase I would include 1) identifying a representative sample of WGLR breeding goshawks, 2) using this sample to identify year-round range and habitat use and preference, 3) using this sample to monitor goshawk population trends through time, through either a survey or demographic approach, or some combination of those two approaches, and 4) evaluating regional and extraregional data on goshawk-habitat relations to develop preliminary models that hypothesize linkages between habitat and demographic performance. Phase II would include relating regional habitat information to population performance by modifying existing models or developing new models. Monitoring effort might then shift emphasis to habitat, with periodic population surveys to verify continued occupancy of suitable habitat by goshawks.

Finally, we propose that a task force use this plan as a framework for agreeing on and implementing a strategy for goshawk monitoring and research in the WGLR. This task force should include representatives of stakeholders concerned with goshawk conservation in the region, be relatively small (< 10 members), have authority to commit necessary resources to a regional strategy, have a timeline within which to establish a strategy, and allocate resources through a peer-review process for regional data collection and analysis and model development and validation.

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