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Martell, M., T. Dick, and P.T. Redig. 1994. Nesting habitat characteristics of goshawks in Minnesota. Final report submitted to the Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 19 pp.


The northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis, is a secretive hawk of northern forests. They are considered to be a year round resident of Minnesota, nesting primarily north of Pine and Crow Wing counties, although nests have been reported as far south as the Twin Cities (Roberts 1932, Janssen 1987) . Goshawks migrate through Minnesota and are a regular winter resident. The nesting population has always been considered small; Roberts (1932) wrote that the species was "... rarely a summer resident" and had reports of only 4 nests. Janssen (1987) reported confirmed nesting from 10 counties since 1970. Little quantitative information has been gathered on nesting density, chronology, or habitat characteristics of goshawks in Minnesota.

Recent concern over the status of goshawk populations has resulted in its classification as a "Category 2" species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1992), and as a candidate for "endangered" status in Wisconsin (Wisconsin Natural Heritage Database 1994). The goshawk is not currently under consideration for listing by the state of Minnesota (R. Baker, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, personal communication).

In response to this recent concern, federal and state agencies have realized the need for more information that may lead to a comprehensive management plan for goshawks in Minnesota. The first steps in designing a plan for Minnesota goshawk management are to locate nest sites, quantify nesting habitat characteristics, and outline goshawk nesting distribution within the state.

The objectives of our study were to: 1) test, and modify as necessary, nesting goshawk survey and detection methods in Minnesota, 2) quantitatively describe goshawk nesting habitat in Minnesota, and 3) create a list of goshawk nesting sites in Minnesota.

Full document (370 KB)
Please note that all location information has been removed from this document to protect Minnesota's goshawk populations

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