We studied occupancy and habitat associations of Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) at nest areas in south-central Oregon in 1992-94. We surveyed 51 pre-1992 nest areas (i.e., historical breeding areas first discovered during 1973-91) for goshawks and used aerial-photograph interpretation to document forest cover conditions and changes over time between areas that were occupied by goshawks and those where we did not detect goshawks (no-response sites). We also surveyed for new nests during 1992-94. Of 38 occupied nests first found in 1992-94 (i.e., post-1992 nest areas), 86% (33/38) were in mid-aged (mean stand DBH 23-53 cm, <15 trees/ha >53 cm DBH) or late (???15 trees/ha >53 cm DBH; mean stand DBH >53 cm) closed (>50% canopy closure) structural-stage forest. Occupancy of historical (pre-1992) nest areas by goshawks was 29% (15/51). Of 46 pre-1992 nest areas that we examined for habitat change, 15 were occupied by goshawks in 1994 and had more mid-aged closed and late closed forest in 12-, 24-, 52-, 120-, and 170-ha circular areas centered on nest locations than did 31 no-response areas. There was no difference in the amount of late closed and mid-aged closed forest in pre-1992 nest areas compared with occupied pre-1992 nest areas. A logistic regression model for all occupied nest areas confirmed that late closed and mid-aged closed forest variables were important indicators of forest conditions that supported breeding pairs. Goshawks were more likely to persist in the historical nest areas that had about 50% of mature and older closed-canopy forest within the 52ha scale. We recommend retaining existing late closed, late open, and mid closed structure within 52ha scale of the nest site. Moreover, late closed and mid closed structure combined should not fall below 50% within the 52-ha scale and should exceed 40% within the 170-ha scale surrounding the nest site. To optimize conditions for breeding goshawks, we recommend retaining large trees (>53 cm DBH) to help preserve stand integrity, maintain closed canopies, and provide connectivity to alternative nest sites within nest areas. ?? 2005 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
Additional publication details
Temporal patterns of Northern Goshawk nest area occupancy and habitat: A retrospective analysis